Israel justified its invasion of Gaza last week by saying it was prompted by Hamas's launching of rockets into Israeli territory. Few reports place these missiles in their proper context - Israel's 18-month blockade of food, water and medical supplies to Gaza. But what about those Hamas missile strikes against a civilian population in Israel? Here's the explosive dope.
QASSAM The first version of this unguided "homemade" projectile was made of a warhead designed to indiscriminately blast half a kilo of metal balls on impact. With a range of around 4 kilometres, these were used by Hamas to target small Israeli villages around Gaza. Later versions, the Qassam 2, 3 and 4, carry up to 9 kilos of payload and can reportedly travel up to 17 kilometres.
GRAD Soviet-era truck-mounted rocket that can travel up to 20 kilometres have been added to the inventory. Variants of these are made in Iran and China - and, it's been suggested, are smuggled into Gaza through tunnels along the Egyptian border.
WS-1EThese are the latest: two hit near the towns of Gan Yavne and Bnei Darom, flying some 34 kilometres. Developed by China's Sichuan Aerospace Industry Corporation.
Number of Israelis in rocket range in 2001: 20,000
Number of Israelis in rocket range today: nearly 1 million
Number of rockets fired from Gaza that hit Israeli soil in 2001: four
Number that hit Israeli soil in 2008: 1,730 (as well as 1,528 mortar shells)
DIGGING THROUGH THE RABBLE
What B'nai Brith says
In a "What you need to know" statement, B'nai Brith Canada lists eight talking points to bring up in conversations. They include that aid to innocent Palestinians is a top Israeli priority.
What the Canadian Arab Federation says
From September 2000 to April 2008, the Israeli military has killed 2,677 Palestinians in Gaza.
"Over 1.5 million Gazans effectively live in an open-air prison and are now being bombarded by the most powerful military force in the Middle East."
Sources: GlobalSecurity.org, Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center (IICC)
Recent spike in rocket activity.