The Qassam rocket is a short-range rocket (6 to 12 km) developed by thearmed wing of Hamas, and is one of the types of rockets launched from Gaza atIsraeli civilian populations in southern Israel.
The cities most affected by these rockets are Sderot (20,000 people), Ashkelon(25,000) and Ofakim (115,000).
After the Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, a sharpincrease in Qassam rockets fired at Israeli communities was recorded.
In hope of terminating rocket fire from Gaza, the IDF launched Operation Cast Leadin the winter of 2008-2009. The operation resulted in the destruction of manylaunch sites and in a drastic reduction of Qassam launchings.
The IDF also developed an anti-missile system, the "Iron Dome" that interceptsrockets threatening communities. Additionally, IDF installed a warning system in the affected cities affected that alerts civilians to incoming rockets.
Terrorists in Gaza sometimes fire rockets from schools, hospitals and even graveyards.