by Aharon Lapidot
The hidden threat in the M-302 missiles intercepted by our forces on board the Klos-C ship is buried in their characteristics: These are precise, far-range missiles that have a range of 100 kilometers (60 miles) and in some models, 200 kilometers (120 miles), that carry a serious explosives payload of over 150 kilos (330 pounds). The weapons were manufactured in Syria and smuggled through Iran toward Gaza.
If they were launched from Gaza, where they were originally headed -- most residential areas in Israel, from the coastal city of Hadera in the north to substantial chunks of the Negev in the south, comprising millions of Israeli citizens, would be in their range.
Because of their large warheads, the missiles would cause greater substantial damage than the rockets currently being fired at Israel. This may not be a game changer, but it is not an exaggeration to call them strategic weapons compared to the ones Hamas and other jihadist organizations in Gaza currently have. Incidentally, a few missiles of this kind were already fired at Israel by Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Another problem Israel faces in dealing with these missiles is the fact that our interception systems -- like David's Sling -- is still under development and has yet to become operational.
With our three layers of protection against ballistic missiles operating in Israel, the M-302 missiles are too fast and have too long a range for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system -- and too short a range for the Arrow missile defense system. They work in the exact middle range where the David's Sling system is supposed to operate.
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