November’s Gaza war was a watershed event for both Israel and the Palestinians. Militants in Gaza exhibited improved, though still unguided, rocket technology and a more robust command-and-control structure, while Israel employed active missile defenses on a widespread basis for the first time.
Palestinian operations featured larger numbers of more advanced rockets capable of striking population centers and economic hubs at greater ranges than before, including a few that reached as far as the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Short-range rockets included the homemade Qassam, which the Palestinians have used since the early 2000s, and the more lethal and accurate Iranian 107-millimeter rocket, a portable weapon with a range of about ten kilometers.
Extended-range Grad rockets, acquired around 2009, have a range of over forty kilometers and are fired from underground launchers, which are electronically raised and lowered like those used by Hizballah in the 2006 Lebanon war. These launchers are often located in residential areas in order to use civilians as human shields.