This Debkafile story not verified as yet by other sources. It is known that Hamas has been extending the range of Qassam missiles, and occasionally some long range ones hit Ashqelon.
May 26, 2007, 11:59 AM (GMT+02:00)
Their crews fired their upgraded weapons out of Gaza's Palestinian refugee camps Friday night, May 25, using their inmates as human shields against the Israeli Air Force, instead of exposing their operatives to Israeli air attack in the north. Using standard explosives, the upgraded weapons pack an extra punch and reach deeper into Israel.
One of these upgraded missiles, which exploded Friday night in Sderot's Neve Eshkol neighborhood, blasted every flat in a four-story residential building, spreading fragments over a wide area with the effect of a cluster bomb. Every window was smashed, doors and windows wrenched out and ceilings collapsed. Many of the occupants were away else the casualties would have been greater than 4 injured and 10 in shock.
Israel air strikes have therefore focused on catching the vehicles of Hamas operatives on the move, "links in the operational missile chain." Overnight Friday and early Saturday, six terrorist targets were struck in Israeli air raids, described as "links in the operational missile chain." They included a position of Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas' Presidential Guard, supposedly fighting Hamas and committed to stopping its missile offensive against Israel. Instead these Fatah operatives are collaborating with Hamas in its anti-Israel missile campaign, which is why Egypt' mediation efforts, which continue Saturday, May 26, for a halt in the campaign are getting nowhere. Egyptian intelligence minister Omar Suleiman has invited the various Palestinian organizations' political chiefs for separate talks in Cairo Saturday, instead of a round table. He knows they have no control over the Hamas military challenge to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and the missile campaign against Israel. It is led by the maverick Hamas Executive Force chief, Ahmed Jabari and is orchestrated from Tehran. For Cairo, it is an urgent priorirty to restore its waning influence in the radicalized, embattled Gaza Strip.
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