Iran gives Hizballah rocket to reach south Israel

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 |  by Staff Writer  

Israeli Middle East intelligence spokesmen believe that Iran is transferring a new type of rocket to Hizballah that is more accurate, deadly and capable of hitting southern Israel from Lebanon.

Intelligence sources are concerned that Iran is entrenching itself in southern Lebanon with an improved weapon, according to a report in an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahranot. The rocket, called “Fatah 110,” is an improved Chinese bombardment rocket with a 125-mile (200-kilometer) range and a 440-550-pound (200-250-kilogram) warhead. It requires just a few minutes for installation prior to being fired.

Iran is believed to have smuggled thousands of rockets into Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Iran launched a rocket for “educational and research” purposes over the weekend, Mohsen Bahrami and Ali Akbar Golrou of Iran's Space Research Center said.

Bahrami, head of the research center, described the missile as a "space rocket" though official Russian statements and an anonymous US military source questioned the launch.

The Iranian rocket soared to the edge of space, 93 miles high. Officials said the program is aimed at launching satellites, not missiles, but Iran did not say what research the rocket was carrying out.

Ephraim Kam, a strategic analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said it was known that the Iranians wanted to develop rockets capable of putting satellites into orbit.

"If this is true, it has more significance for other countries, for Europe, than it does for Israel. They have already had missiles that can reach Israel for several years," Kam said.

The rocket launch came at a time of increased tensions between Iran and the West over its nuclear program, which the United States and some European countries fear aims to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the claim, saying its nuclear program and its space program are both peaceful.

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