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The Kassam rocket


In recent years the Kassam rockets have become the predominant threat to the State of Israel. Data worth knowing about the primitive weapon that has become so familiar in Sderot and in the kibbutzim and moshavim around the Gaza perimeter

What is the Kassam rocket?


A rocket is a small metal missile containing a relatively small amount of explosives. The rocket can cause damage to buildings and injury to people who are not protected by a secure space. The Kassam rocket is a primitive ground-to-ground rocket that can carry only a conventional warhead. It is made up of a hollow steel tube containing explosives. The rear of the cylinder holds special inflammable material that produces gases that thrust the rocket forward as they exit from the rear of the tube. The material is composed of a very simple mixture of white sugar and potassium nitrate, a commercial fertilizer. The mixture burns quickly, producing a large quantity of gas to propel the rocket forward
The Kassam is known as a short-range rocket with a low degree of accuracy. It was developed by Hamas and is produced in the Gaza Strip. The rocket is used by the Palestinian terrorist organizations operating there, mainly for the purpose of firing on Israeli settlements in the Negev that are located close to the border with Gaza. It was named after Az a-Din Al-Kassam.


Characteristics of the rocket


The rocket carries a payload, such as an explosive warhead. The explosive material in the Kassam rocket weighs a few kilograms.
The Kassam is an improvised kind of rocket built of a steel tube approximately 70 cm in length. Its range varies from 3 km to 10 km. The greatest range actually measured to date was 9.1 km. In spite of this, Israel is prepared for the possibility of a 20-30 km range.
Rocket fire is not characterized by a high degree of accuracy. Because its launcher is primitive and it is not manufactured in serial production runs, its accuracy in hitting the target is not generally great so it is quite reasonably aimed at large population centers, usually municipalities, where the potential for hitting the target is greatest, in spite of its low degree of accuracy.
The Kassam makes a lot of noise when it explodes, but the damage it inflicts is not always proportional to the noise. The rocket is limited to conventional warheads. Its impact radius is no greater than five meters. Kassam rockets can be fired individually or in barrages of multiple rockets fired simultaneously.
Pikud Haoref operates early warning systems in communities under threat of Kassam fire. The systems afford a 20-30 second alert, before a rocket hits. They are connected automatically to sirens that sound the "Tzeva Adom" code warning.