The Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organization announced on May 11 that its members fired a burst of "Badr-3" missiles into Israel, killing two women and injuring dozens others. The announcement was made by PIJ's military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, after the group and other terror factions in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, fired hundreds of rockets into Israel within 24 hours.
The "Badr-3" missile is an Iranian-made missile that appeared for the first time on the battlefields of the Middle East in April 2019, when the Iranian-backed Houthi militia used it during the fighting in war-torn Yemen.
The "Badr-3" missile carries an explosive warhead weighing 250 kg, and has a range of more than 160 km, according to Debka, an Israeli website that reports on military issues. "The missile explodes within 20m of target and releases a 1,400-piece shower of shrapnel fragments," the website reported.
Until a few years ago, PIJ, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups used to receive rockets and other weapons directly from Iran -- smuggled in by sea or across the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. For some years now, however, according to Israeli intelligence sources, these terrorist groups have used years of experience with Iranian and other rockets to develop their own versions.
Over the past 15 years, Iran became the most dominant weapon supplier to Hamas and PIJ. The major smuggling route was from Iran to Sudan, on to Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, and from there to the Gaza Strip. These weapons include long range rockets, mortar shells, anti-tank missiles, tons of standard explosives and raw materials for explosive production.
Last year, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei admitted for the first time that his country was supplying the Palestinian terrorist groups with weapons. "Iran realized Palestinian fighters' only problem was lack of access to weapons," Khamenei said in an online speech.
"With divine guidance and assistance, we planned, and the balance of power has been transformed in Palestine, and today the Gaza Strip can stand against the aggression of the Zionist enemy and defeat it."
Khamenei went on to offer the reason why Iran was sending rockets, missiles and tons of explosives to the Gaza Strip: "The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous tumor in the region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed."