The Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired a new kind of rocket at Israel with a massive 300 kilogram (660 lb) warhead that left a huge crater where it exploded in southern Israel, Channel 12 reported Friday.
The rocket, which carried significantly more explosives than most of the missiles fired by the terror group, landed in an open area in an Israeli community on the outskirts of Gaza and left a crater with a diameter of 16 meters (52 feet) and 2 meters (6 feet) deep.
Channel 12 said the size of the rocket surprised Israel and noted that it was developed locally with the assistance of Iranian engineers.
The report said Islamic Jihad had managed, in some aspects, to surpass the technical capabilities of the much larger Hamas terror group. However, it noted that Hezbollah in Lebanon has rockets of this size and larger aimed at Israel, some with precision-guided systems.
Islamic Jihad received hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance from Iran, which hopes to use its proxies in Gaza and Lebanon to fire thousands of missiles at Israel in the event of a conflict.
From predawn Tuesday to Thursday morning, Israel and Islamic Jihad fought a battle in which over 450 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces responded with dozens of airstrikes on Islamic Jihad bases and weapons facilities and on the terror cells as they were firing and preparing to launch rockets.
Palestinian sources said 34 Gazans were killed. Israel said 25 of the fatalities were terrorists; human rights officials said 16 civilians were among the dead.
Hamas’s military wing said Friday that one of its members was killed during the flare-up, but did not specify if he was involved in the fighting.
Fifty-eight Israelis were lightly and moderately injured or treated for anxiety.
On Friday schools remained closed in the Gaza periphery, but at noon local councils announced a return to normal life.