Hamas rocket on Oct 7 struck Israeli airbase housing nuclear-capable missiles: report
As Hamas fired thousands of missiles that day, one rocket reportedly landed close to the Sdot Micha airbase, situated near the central town of Beit Shemesh, according to satellite imagery obtained by NYT.
But despite a fire breaking out at the base as a result of the rocket attack, it did not reach strategic facilities.
That base stores dozens of nuclear-capable Jericho missile launchers that can potentially carry nuclear warheads, the director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project Hans Kristensen told NYT.
Israel is believed to possess between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads but has always kept silent about its nuclear capabilities, maintaining a policy of deliberate ambiguity.
Kristensen said that while these missiles were designed to be equipped with nuclear warheads, the warheads themselves are likely kept in a different location.
"A fire is unlikely to have damaged any silo even if it had reached it, as these are built for protection deep within the earth," he told NYT.
Israel is believed to possess between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons but it has neither confirmed nor denied having nuclear weapons, adhering to a policy of deliberate ambiguity.— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) November 23, 2023
Here's what we know about them: https://t.co/rnu1hNPsk1 pic.twitter.com/SemHv6pW5G
It was unclear whether or not Hamas's targeting of the base was intentional, the report added, but said the October 7 attacks proved that rockets are able to "penetrate the airspace around Israel’s closely guarded strategic weapons."
Hamas' surprise ground, air and sea attack killed 1,200 people, and the Palestinian group took around 240 captive, according to Israeli figures. Many of the hostages have since been released in a prisoner exchange with Israel.
Israel has carried out an ferocious and indiscriminate bombardment of the Gaza Strip since October 7, killing more than 15,500 people in its air and ground campaign, including thousands of children.
Israel’s extremist Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu last month said dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza was "an option." Other officials have made genocidal remarks about the enclave, saying it should be wiped out and Palestinians sent abroad.
Since a Qatari, US and Egyptian-mediated truce collapsed last week, Israeli ground troops have pressed on with their ground invasion of the besieged coastal territory, now shifting to the southern area of Khan Younis.