The Israel Project
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Israeli Homeland - Threats and Defenses
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About TIP 2
Map: Ranges of Rockets Facing Israel 10
Israel’s Defenses 16
Iron Dome 17
David’s Sling (“Magic Wand”) 18
The Arrow 19
Front Cover: Courtesy of United States Department of Defense
Updated December 2011
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• Iran is widely recognized as the world's leading state sponsor of
international terrorism. The Islamic republic directly and indirectly
funds, trains and arms groups that share the regime's stated goal of
targeting Western countries and destroying Israel, as well as
overthrowing regimes in Muslim countries such as Egypt and Saudi
• Iran provides support to insurgent groups in Lebanon, Iraq and
Afghanistan, whose goal is to inflict casualties on American, British,
Australian and other international forces.
• Iran is expanding its terror network beyond the Middle East, using
Hezbollah and splinter groups of Iran's Revolutionary Guard to
recruit and train sleeper cells in foreign countries.
• FBI officials know that Iran-backed Hezbollah has a sizeable
presence in the United States and suspect that the group may be
planning to activate sleeper cells in the New York City area.
• In a veiled threat to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and to Arab
countries that signed peace treaties with Israel, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: “Anybody who recognizes Israel will
burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury.”
UN Report: Iran Circumventing Sanctions
On May 11, 2011 The Israel Project published the following news release: Iran is circumventing U.N.
Security Council sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear program by using “front companies, financial
transactions and concealed shipping methods,” a U.N. report stated this week.
"Iran maintains its uranium enrichment and heavy water related activities ... and in the area of ballistic
missiles, continues to test missiles and engage in prohibited procurement," the report said.
The council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in June 2010 for its refusal to suspend
uranium enrichment and negotiate its nuclear program.
The report also said most violations of the conventional arms ban involve Syria. Iran is known to arm
terror proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah through Syria, which transports weapons and supplies from
Syrian storage sites to the Syrian-Lebanese border or by ship.
For example, a weapons shipment from Iran that originated in Syria was intercepted by Israel in March.
The ship, which was headed for Hamas-controlled Gaza, was carrying Kalashnikov bullets, mortar shells,
anti-ship missiles, radar systems and launchers.
And in January, Iranian war ships passed through the Suez Canal on their way to naval exercises with
Syria. It was the first time Iran’s ships passed through Egypt’s international shipping waterway since Iran’s
Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Meanwhile, Russia successfully completed a “vital pre-launch test” at its Iranian nuclear power plant in
Bushehr on Sunday. The test represented one of the “final stages before a formal start” of the reactors at
the nuclear power plant, media reports stated.
Iran Stages Massive Fighter-
Bomber Military Drills
On Sept. 7, 2011 The Israel Project
published the following news release:
Iran staged massive air drills in the
northwestern section of the country
Tuesday (Sept. 6). As part of a 10-day
war-game exercise, fighter jets, fighter
bombers and planes were used to
simulate war situations and bomb
“Iranian fighter jets, including Saeqeh
(thunderbolt), will carry out hundreds
of sorties during the war games and
will drop high-tonnage smart and
precision-guided bombs on mock
targets,” Iran’s semi-official FARS
News Agency reported today.
Iran also announced the successful
testing of a “home-made radar-
evading UAV with bombing
The advanced aircraft and war-game
scenarios exemplify Iran’s foray into
the manufacturing of fighter jets and
its progress in the production of
stealth aircraft and drones. Iran’s
build-up of fighter weapons points to a
larger question about its military
ambitions – particularly its secretive
The military exercises come only a
few days after the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that
many member states now have
credible, “extensive and
comprehensive” information that Iran
“continues to work secretly on developing a nuclear payload for a missile and other components of a
nuclear weapons program,” the Associated Press reported.
The IAEA report states: “Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security
Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities in the following declared facilities.”
The intelligence suggests enough uranium for six warheads.
An Iranian news agency also recently pointed out that Iran said it “will not undertake more commitments
in negotiations with the IAEA.”
Already in May, The New York Times reported the IAEA’s frustration with Iran because of its refusal to
answer questions about the purpose of its nuclear program. The NYT said the IAEA stated, for the first
time, that it “possesses evidence that Tehran has conducted work on a highly sophisticated nuclear
triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon.”
World leaders have pushed for international sanctions against Iran because of its non-compliance with
IAEA inspectors and their questions about the nature of its nuclear program.
The Middle East Quartet’s Special Envoy Tony Blair said earlier this year: “I say this to you with all of the
passion I possibly can -- at some point the West has to get out of what I think is a wretched policy or
posture of apology for believing that we are causing what the Iranians are doing, or what these extremists
“They [Iran] disagree fundamentally with our way of life and will carry on unless met with determination
and, if necessary, force,” added Blair.
Iran’s leaders continue to say they seek Israel’s destruction and that they support Hezbollah and Hamas,
two U.S.-designated terror organizations that vow to destroy Israel.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently said Jews and Israelis - “Zionists” - would face “definite
death.” He was speaking by telephone to Hamas’ political leader Khaled Mashaal.
Iranian arms shipment intended for Hezbollah intercepted by Israel’s navy (Israel Defense Forces)
GBU-67/9A Qadr ("Destiny" in Arabic)
working for the Iranian Ministry
of Defense are manufacturing
the GBU-67/9A Qadr, the first
generation of precision-guided
Iranian Minister of Defense Brig.
announced in November 2007
that Tehran is developing the
Qadr and another missile, the
"Ashoura," both with the capacity
to travel beyond 1,242 miles
The Shahab ("Comet" in Farsi) is an Iranian missile based on the
design of the Soviet R11, a 1950s Scud missile. Iran originally
acquired a small quantity of Scud missiles from Libya to retaliate
against Iraqi attacks during the Iran-Iraq war. Following the war,
Iran acquired the 661-lb. (300-kg) Scud B and 1,278-lb. (580-kg)
Scud C missiles from North Korea. The missiles were dubbed the
Shahab-1 and Shahab-2, respectively. Many Shahab-1 missiles
were fired into the encampments of the Mujahedeen el-Khalq
(MEK) opposition group in Iraq.
The acquisition of the Shahab-3 missile made Iran a threat to the
Western world. The Shahab-1 and 2 had a limited range and
primarily threatened Iraq. The Shahab-3, tested in 1998, had a
range of 806 miles (1,300 km), placing Tel Aviv under threat. The
Shahab-3 and the Pakistani "Ghauri" are similar to the North
Korean Scud missile, the No Dong. In 2004, Iran revealed the
more powerful and precise Shahab-3. The latest version of the
missile, with a range of up to 930 miles (1,500 km), is longer with
a modified external design. Between 1998 and 2006, 10 test
flights of the Shahab-3 were carried out, half of which failed.
Israel and the U.S. have prepared for a Shahab-3 attack by having the crew of the American Sixth Fleet
in the Mediterranean Sea practice intercepting missiles aimed at them. On July 9, 2008, Iran test-fired a
Shahab-3 missile with a range of 1,242 mi. (2,000 km).
In 2005, Iran announced that it had succeeded in testing solid propellant motors for a "twin engine"
missile for the latest model of Shahab.  According to the journal Strategic Assessment, Iran has
developed the longer-range Shahab-4, Shahab-5 (Kosar), and Shahab-6.
Military experts consider the Shahab-4 the Iranian counterpart to the North Korean Taepodong-1. These
missiles cause heavier damage than the Shahab-3, carrying a greater payload and with and increased
range of up to 2,480 miles (4,000 kilometers). The missile would have the capability of thrusting an
Iranian satellite up to 22 miles (35 kilometers) into space from the launching pad near the city of Qom.
The BM-25 Ballistic Missile is Iran's newest long-range acquisition. Obtained from North Korea, it has a
range of 1,550-2,170 miles (2,500-3,500 km) using the new technology of storable liquid propulsion.
According to the German newspaper Bild, Iran purchased 18 BM-25 missiles and launchers from North
The BM-25 is based on the Soviet
SS-N-6 (R-27) submarine-launched
ballistic missile (SLBM). Iranian
officials and the Russian minister of
defense denied the report.
The missile was called a “feat of
engineering” by an Israeli security
official, who told TIP that it has three
motors and can be launched from
Hezbollah Fighters and Weapons’ Capabilities in South Lebanon
Hezbollah (“Party of God” in Arabic) is a Lebanese Shiite Muslim terrorist organization and political party.
Born in Lebanon in 1982 but nurtured in Iran, Hezbollah has gone from a radical offshoot of the Shiite
Amal Party and militia to a major force in regional politics. It is now recognized as a highly skilled,
worldwide terrorist network.
Hezbollah’s backyard is south Lebanon, locally known as the Jebel Amal. South Lebanon’s Litani River
area remains the area that is Hezbollah’s main base of operations. Using a combination of underground
fortifications and hiding in the towns and villages of South Lebanon, Hezbollah has managed to keep a
considerable force within 25 miles (40 km) of the Israeli border.
The general layout of Hezbollah is as follows: There are two forward elements, mainly located in rural
fortified positions and in the local populated areas. The units are meant to delay and stall any Israeli
advance, causing as many casualties as possible but not meant to hold out indefinitely.
The Northern Unit is effectively a reserve force, ready for deployment. In addition, Hezbollah can count on
further reinforcements from the Beirut area and the Bekaa Valley on the Syrian border.
River (in red)
River (in red)
July 12, 2010 marked the fourth anniversary of the beginning of Israel’s defensive war against
Hezbollah. With Iran’s aid, Hezbollah has been actively building up its arsenal and guerilla warfare
capabilities since its war with Israel in 2006. Both are direct violations of U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1701, which calls for Hezbollah to disarm.
Hezbollah took an immense amount of damage to its manpower and logistical infrastructure in
2006. Yet, soon after the war, Iran and Syria sponsored a massive reconstruction of its capabilities.
First and foremost was a revamped training program of its personnel. A report from April 2007 cites 500
Hezbollah terrorists being sent to Iran for training by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The same
report shows that terrorists are cycled through Iran on periodic training exercises and Syria also takes a
major role in training fighters, especially in the use of rockets.
Estimates vary on how many armed fighters Hezbollah can actually call on at any one time; a report from
the 2006 war stated that Hezbollah had around 1,000 full time fighters and 6,000-10,000 reservists. Other
reports cite as many as 20,000 fighters of all types. These include the hundreds of specially trained
technicians and engineers needed to service Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal.
Hezbollah has a large weapons cache, outmatching those of actual armies, including that of the
Lebanese Armed Forces. The Jamestown Foundation states its average terrorists “are armed with
Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, typically assembling in small teams to avoid
concentrations that would draw Israeli attention.” That report also states “the use of mortars (81mm and
120mm) has been honed to near perfection… Hezbollah fighters have developed efficient assault tactics
for use against armor, with their main anti-tank weapons being AT-3 Saggers and AT-4 Spigot missiles.”
TOW missiles, an acronym for “tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire data link auto-guided missile,” are
said to be present in Hezbollah’s warehouses. The TOW has been linked to the Iran-Contra Scandal, in
which weapons were allegedly provided to Iran by then U.S. president Ronald Reagan in order to secure
the release of American hostages taken by Hezbollah and Iran-loyalists in Lebanon.
The vast majority of the weapons come from Syria and Iran, with Iran equipping Hezbollah with
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance purposes. Syria and Iran allegedly gave the group
Russian and Iranian produced MANPAD’s (man portable air defense weapons) such as the SA-7.
The low estimate for Hezbollah’s rocket capabilities is that it possesses at least 40,000 rockets of various
range abilities. Moreover, Israeli intelligence officials believe Hezbollah has 40,000 rockets south of the
Litani River alone.
The actual types are of mostly Iranian origin, including the Fajr 3 and 5, with ranges around 46 miles (75
km), the Zelzal-1 with a 93 mile (150 km) range. This means Hezbollah has the ability to threaten Tel
Aviv and central Israel from south Lebanon.
The most basic rocket is the Katyusha-122, which has a range of less than 18 miles (29 km). Hezbollah is
also said to have added the M-600 Scud D to its inventory from Syria, which has a range of 186 miles
(300 km) and, being fitted with a GPS inertial navigation system, is accurate to within 656 feet (200
meters) of a pre-selected target. Hezbollah is reported to have at least 200 of these variants.
• Israeli intelligence reports that Hezbollah possesses 26,000 more rockets than it did on the eve
of the Second Lebanon War.
• Hezbollah has Iranian Zelzal-2 ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a 1,300lb (600kg) warhead
with a maximum range of 124 miles (200km), placing all major Israeli cities in range of Hezbollah
• Hezbollah has three organizational structures and sophisticated weaponry, including the M-6002
missile, supplied by Iran through Syria to Hezbollah with the help of the organization’s 10,000
• Syria mass-produced and delivered new, longer-range Scud-D missiles to Lebanon that travel as
far as 435 miles (700km) and can carry chemical or biological warheads.
• WikiLeaks cables revealed that the United States had urged Syria to stop transferring ballistic
missiles (Scud-D, Fateh-110 missiles) to Hezbollah earlier in 2010. They have the potential of
reaching Tel Aviv and central Israel.
• Hezbollah also possesses a large arsenal of guided anti-tank missiles, including advanced
Russian-built models. The militia also has a large cache of shore-to-sea missiles.
• Hezbollah has approximately 20,000 fighters with as many as 200 fighters stationed in every
Shiite village in south Lebanon.
• In July 2010, Israeli military released aerial photos of Al-Khiam village in southern Lebanon, 4
miles (6 km) from Israel’s border. Hezbollah has a military presence in more than 100 civilian
• Iran provided Hezbollah with $200 million in 2008 to fund its terrorist activities, and has trained
3,000 Hezbollah militants in Iranian camps.
• Regarding disarmament, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said:
“Whoever wants to forcefully disarm the Resistance—and I have said this more than once—
we will chop off his hand, behead him, and get rid of his soul. We are that determined.”
• On May 29, 2009, Nasrallah declared on Al-Manar television that Iran is unconditionally
arming and supporting Hezbollah.
Background on Hamas
Like the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, Gaza-based Hamas is funded, armed and trained by the
Islamic Republic of Iran. Hamas is a radical Islamic terror group operating out of the Gaza Strip. Hamas,
which means “enthusiasm” or “bravery” in Arabic, is the acronym for its full title, the Islamic Resistance
Movement. Its military wing is the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. Hamas also has a paramilitary police
force, known as the Executive Force. The group has some 20,000 fighters in its ranks. Hamas’ political
leader Khaled Mashaal runs Hamas from Damascus, Syria, while Ahmed Jabari, Hamas’ military leader,
lives in Gaza. Hamas’ Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh also sits in Gaza. Following the recent revolts
sweeping across Syria, Hamas’ leadership is now worried it may have to relocate to Egypt or Qatar.
Founded in 1987, Hamas was created by former Muslim Brotherhood members, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
and Mahmoud al-Zahar. Abdullah Azzam, an Arab Islamist from the West Bank city of Jenin, was another
pivotal figure in the founding of Hamas. He studied with Muslim Brotherhood members at Cairo’s al-Azhar
University and became al-Qaeda arch terrorist Osama bin Laden’s mentor in Pakistan. In fact, writes
Steve Coll in Ghost Wars, bin Laden and his followers later merged Azzam’s Islamic social organization,
Office of Services, into al-Qaeda. Already in 2008, Abbas confirmed that Hamas helped al-Qaeda gain a
presence in Gaza.
Hamas carries out civilian attacks and suicide bombings and advocate firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
Human rights group Amnesty International called on Hamas to "publicly renounce its policy of unlawful
attacks against civilian population centers in Israel." The group’s hardline ethos advocates fighting Jews
in order to create a state of Palestinian in the place of what is currently Israel. Hamas’ charter states: “The
hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.”
Terrorists in Gaza who are under Hamas’ control have fired over 600 rockets at Israeli civilians so far in
2011. Today, more than one million Israelis live within the range of rocket-fire from Gaza. Hamas’
arsenal is growing.
Hamas and Gaza since Operation Cast Lead
Hamas’ military and security infrastructure was severely damaged during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead at
the end of 2008. That operation was launched in response to the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas.
However, since the end of Cast Lead, Hamas has made strenuous efforts to re-arm, restore its control
over the territory, rebuild its military infrastructure and prevent the Palestinian Authority from re-asserting
control - with Iran’s assistance.
Hamas’ efforts include:
• Dozens of tons of standard explosives and other rocket building material smuggled in, as have
scores of Grad rockets with ranges of 25 miles (40km), hundreds of mortar shells and dozens
of anti-tank weapons
• Hundreds of smuggling tunnels used to deliver arms, merchandise, equipment and fuel have
been re-dug since the end of Cast Lead. As many as 1,500 tunnels existed under the Gaza-Egypt
border at the end of 2009
• Smugglers transport weapons from Iran to Yemen, on to Sudan and then to Egypt and the Sinai
Peninsula where they are brought into the Gaza Strip through the tunnels
• Hamas has received more advanced rockets than it previously possessed. On Nov. 3, 2009,
Hamas test fired a rocket 37 miles (60 km) into the Mediterranean Sea. Such rockets put Greater
Tel Aviv within range of Hamas’ missile fire
Israel Deploys “Iron Dome”
Following the increase in rocket and mortar attacks in the south of Israel, the decision was made by the
Israel Defense Forces to deploy the new missile-defense system known as the “Iron Dome”. Although it is
still in the experimental stage, it has already had success in the field. On April 7, 2011, the Iron Dome
intercepted a Katyusha rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, aimed at Ashkelon. Nine Grad and Qassam
rockets were later successfully intercepted over the weekend of April 7-9, 2011, which saw some 120
mortars and rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. Iron Dome also successfully intercepted dozens of rockets
in August 2011.
Iron Dome is a mobile defense system that shoots down incoming rockets with ranges of up to 43.5 miles
(70 km) before they land; it is produced by Israeli manufacturers and the Israeli government has ordered
more of them to protect civilians. The installations shot down the first rockets from Gaza earlier this year.
The ground-breaking defense system counters short range rockets and 155 mm artillery shell threats,
with ranges of up to 43 mi. (70km). A radar detects and identifies the rocket or artillery shell launch and
monitors its trajectory. The threat’s trajectory is quickly analyzed and the expected impact point is
estimated; if it poses a critical threat, an interceptor is quickly launched. The target warhead is detonated
over a neutral area, therefore reducing collateral damage to the protected area.
The Iron Dome system has been deployed outside of Beersheba - a city of some 200,000 people, south
of Ashkelon and in Ashdod. Gaza is as close as 23 mi. (37 km) away from Ashdod, for example.
Israel is currently awaiting further funding to develop and deploy extra units to aid its civilians in the south.
The Israeli Defense Ministry and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which manufactures the system,
hope to deliver two more batteries by the end of 2012, bringing the total number of operational Iron Dome
systems to six.
David’s Sling (“Magic Wand”)
David's Sling, also known as Magic Wand, is another interceptor for more powerful rockets with a range
of hundreds of miles. It should be completed by 2013. It is a protective barrier against mid-range
Sometimes referred to as Magic Wand or the “Stunner”, David’s Sling is an Israel Defense Forces military
system being jointly developed by the Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and
the American defense contractor Raytheon, designed to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and
cruise missiles, such as those possessed by Hezbollah, fired at ranges from 25 mi. to 185 mi. (40 km to
The interceptor is a two-stage missile, with two targeting and guidance systems installed in its nose-tip (a
radar and an electro-optical sensor). In 2006, Rafael was awarded a contract to develop a defense
system to counter the threat of medium- to long-range rockets with ranges between 43 mi. and 155 mi.
(70 km and 250 km). In order to enable Israel to make use of the financial aid provided by the United
States to further develop the system and to produce it, a partnership was established with Raytheon
which develops missile firing units and overall logistic systems and assists Rafael with developing
David’s Sling (Rafael website)
The Arrow (Wikimedia Commons)
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew J. Shapiro said in July 2010:
"Hezbollah has amassed tens of thousands of short- and medium-range
rockets on Israel’s northern border. Hamas has a substantial number in
Gaza. And even if some of these are still crude, they all pose a serious
danger… Given the threat Israel faces from short- and medium-range
missiles, Israel air and missile defense systems are an area of particular
focus [between the U.S. and Israel], including the Arrow Weapon
System to counter long-range ballistic missile threats, and David’s Sling
to defend against short-range ballistic missiles. For our part, we are
working with Israel to upgrade its Patriot Air and Missile Defense System.
The Arrow is a cornerstone of U.S.-Israeli technical and military cooperation. It is an advanced weapons
system designed to counter longer-range ballistic missiles threats and weapons of mass
destruction capability at a distance of 62 mi (100 km).
Israel's Arrow Interceptor is used to protect the country from Iranian or Syrian ballistic missiles at high
The Arrow 3 is expected to be able to intercept ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction at
more than 62 mi (100 km) above the earth’s surface – beyond the boundary between earth's atmosphere
and outer space.
Israel and the U.S. signed an agreement in July 2010 paving the way to making the Arrow II capable of
shooting down missiles at higher altitudes.
Upgrading to the Arrow III will mean interceptions outside the earth’s atmosphere so there is no toxic
debris. Trials are expected to begin on Arrow III in 2012.