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Israel establishing rocket battalion

April 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM

JERUSALEM, April 3 (UPI) -- The Israeli military will establish its first short-range rocket battalion next year, sources told Haaretz.

The battalion, part of the Artillery Corps, will launch rockets into populated areas in missions that only the Israeli air force can now carry out, sources said.

The battalion will fire rockets with a range of about 18-25 miles and will be capable of firing long-range rockets in the years to come, sources said.

Haaretz said targeting a terror organization's headquarters would now require the air force to drop a bomb weighing between hundreds of pounds to a ton on it, whereas the new rocket, designed to carry a warhead weighting about 44 pounds, will be launched by artillery officers.

The new, lighter rocket is considered highly accurate.

But in densely populated areas, even the more accurate rocket could kill people other than intended targets, so the army plans to evacuate a targeted building before launching a rocket.

"With this device, which is a sort of mini-bomb, we can control the extent of the damage," a senior artillery officer said.

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