Israel has unleashed a new weapon on Hamas positions in Gaza for the first time – a highly powerful and precise mortar munition known as the Iron Sting.
Dramatic video shows the system in action on Sunday, taking out what the Israeli Defence Forces say was a Hamas rocket launcher.
Israel’s Air Force and Maglan reconnaissance platoon worked together to stage the attack, saying the weapon was among those which had successfully ‘thwarted dozens of terrorists’.
Developed by Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems, the GPS and laser-guided mortar was unveiled in March 2021 after being tested in southern Israel, with tiny targets being set up in the desert to demonstrate its precision.
While Israel boasts of its accuracy, it is facing increasing pressure to minimise civilian casualties in Gaza, where the Hamas-run health ministry says more than 5,000 lives have already been lost in just over two weeks.
The weapon was tested in southern Israel, with tiny targets being set up in the desert to demonstrate its precision
Developed by Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems, the GPS and laser-guided mortar was unveiled in March 2021
As Israel prepares for a ground offensive, it says its forces are focusing on targeted air and ground raids to take out Hamas terror squads which are gathering to prepare their resistance.
Yesterday, the IDF unleashed the ‘heaviest 24 hours’ of bombing since the Israel-Hamas conflict began just over two weeks ago, with media sources in Gaza saying 400 Palestinians were killed in strikes across the enclave.
As part of their aerial assault, the Israeli army and air force utilised the Iron Sting weapon, described as ‘an innovative and accurate mortar bomb’.
The system consists of a 120mm mortar and is said to be able to penetrate double-reinforced concrete and has a range of up to 12km.
The weapon’s accuracy has a maximum deviation level of ten metres in 90 per cent of cases, Israeli outlet Maariv reports.
Benny Gantz, who was the country’s defence minister when Iron Sting was first made public, said the weapon ‘changes the battlefield and provides our forces with more accurate and effective means.’
The Iron Sting ‘fulfills the IDF’s needs’, he said, ‘adapting combat capabilities to contend with enemies hidden within civilian, urban environments, while meeting the legal and moral standards set by the State of Israel.’
Elbit Systems claims the weapon would ‘revolutionize ground warfare and equip battalions with organic, accurate and effective firepower.’
They added that it is designed to ‘engage targets precisely, in both open terrains and urban environments, while reducing the possibility of collateral damage and preventing injury to non-combatants.’
Israel boasts one of the most advanced militaries in the world, with an arsenal of modern weaponry and state of the art equipment.
Israel’s military has long been supported by the US with $3.3 billion in annual funding.
Another $500 million towards its advanced missile defence technology, known as the Iron Dome, that protects its skies from Hamas rockets.
Palestinians look for survivors of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023
A view of rubble as the Israeli airstrikes continued into their 16th day in Gaza City on Sunday
It also has significant manpower, with the IDF boasting an army of 169,500 active military personnel and 465,000 reservists – a large portion of whom have now been called up by the Israeli government.
This equates to the world’s third largest active military per-capita, and the world’s sixth largest reserve military by the same metric.
The huge fighting force is now massed on Gaza’s border as it prepares for a ground invasion.
Footage of the mortars being tested after they were unveiled in 2021 shows them being launched from a tank
Israeli forces show the ‘Iron Sting’ mortar bomb taking out a rocket launcher in its first operational use
The IDF on Sunday staged ‘limited’ raids to fight Palestinian gunmen and target Hamas positions to eradicate the threat before troops move in.
‘During the night there were raids by tank and infantry forces,’ chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a briefing.
‘These raids are raids that kill squads of terrorists who are preparing for our next stage in the war. These are raids that go deep.’
Hamas said the infiltration by what it described as an armoured force took place east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
‘Fighters engaged with the infiltrating force, destroying two bulldozers and a tank and forced the force to withdraw, before they returned safely to base,’ a statement said.