a different side of Israel

Israeli Fertilizer in Qassam Rockets

Hat Tip: Abba | Pictures: Spiegel Online

Israeli Fertilizer in Kassam RocketsI got this in the email and probably never would have come across it, but its definitely worth a read. This is an article called A Visit to a Gaza Rocket Factory and I selected these excerpts…

The vehicle finally stops at a dirt track. The Islamic Jihad rocket factory is housed in a kind of garden shed. The hut measures five meters by five meters, metal pipes with small wings lean against the wall in the corner: Half finished Qassams. There are several tightly packed garbage bags on a shelf. “TNT,” says Abdul and produces a chunk. The explosive looks like lumpy sugar. A large cauldron is sitting ready on a gas cooker while bags with Hebrew writing are piled up high up against the wall. “Fertilizer for the rocket fuel,” Abdul says and grins. “We get it in Israel.”

The team can make up to 100 rockets per night shift, but today it won’t be more than 10. Instead of the usual 12, only three of Abdul’s men have turned up tonight. “The other guys are over in Egypt, shopping”

Qassam Rockets“The TNT comes to us from Sudan via Egypt.” Other elements arrive by boat across the sea to Gaza. “We get some from Eastern Europe.” The raw materials for one large rocket cost up to €500. The money to finance the operation comes the same route as the materials. “The Israeli blockade doesn’t affect us; it’s just intended to plunge the people into misery.”

A cauldron full of fuel is set on it, and one of the men stirs in a lump of golden syrup, while the others weigh the fertilizer, which contains nitrate. They explain that the nitrate has to be mixed very slowly with the sugar solution. “The thing is highly explosive.” Abdul admits that many of his friends have suffered severe burns or lost fingers. He shrugs his shoulders: “There is a local saying in Gaza: He who cooks poison has to also try it.”

Over tea on the porch Abdul tells of his career as a rocket maker. A few hours of theory, then he and his friends did their apprenticeship with an experienced rocket builder. He doesn’t want to explicitly say it, but it seems as if he also trained abroad. “I was in Syria, Jordan and one other country,” he says. In Iran? Abdul smiles slightly.


  1. It was an amonia nitrate concoction (the same stuff used by Abdul and friends) that blew up the Muriah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

    Rumor has it that Terry Nichols, Tim McVey’s accomplance, had connections with the Jamail al Islamya terrorist terrorist organization, which is allied with Al Qaeda.

    Maybe the Palestinians got their “recipes” from that source.

  2. Ammonium nitrate “concoctions” like the AN/fuel oil Timothy used are high explosives and are used as such to blow shit up. That guy however was making rocket fuel out of nitrates, which means it was potassium or sodium nitrate, mixed with sugar like he said. Sugar and potassium nitrate is far from a high explosive, its just the rocket fuel. It’s no “secret recipe”, its all over the internet, and lots of amateur rocketeers make it on their bbq grill for their model rockets. I’m guessing they use the TNT for the warhead.

    People don’t realize how simple it really is to destroy something. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist (pun intended) to melt sugar and fertilizer together and pour it in a tube. Governments try to restrict the ingredients but its sort of a futile effort, obviously the people who want to do these sort of things aren’t being held back by anti-chemistry laws.

    Just thought I’d clear that up…

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