How Hamas Created and Perfected Weapons to Attack Israel – Despite careful controls and severe restrictions, the terrorist organization has been able to produce and acquire thousands of long-range rockets and other weapons.
How Hamas Created and Perfected Weapons to Attack Israel
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – In the fourth major round of violence between Israel and the Hamas leadership in Gaza, Hamas fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel, some of which penetrated deep into Israeli territory and were fired with greater accuracy than ever before.
The unprecedented attacks reached as far as the Tel Aviv coast, with drone launches and underwater strikes, a great showcase of the local weapons that are still developing despite a 14-year coastal blockade by Israel and Egypt.
Israel has been blockading Gaza since Hamas, which has vowed to destroy Israel, took it from the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority in 2007. The blockade is claimed to have been imposed to prevent weapons and other military equipment from entering the Gaza Strip.
Here are some examples of breakthroughs Hamas has made in spite of strict censorship and severe restrictions.
From rudimentary bombs to long-range missiles
Since Hamas was founded in 1987, its clandestine armed wing has operated in parallel with more overt political organizations, evolving from a small militia into what Israel calls a “semi-organized army.
In its early days, it engaged in shootings and kidnappings targeting Israelis. In the second Palestinian Intifada, which broke out in late 2000, hundreds of Israelis were killed by suicide bombers.
As the violence escalated, terrorist groups began manufacturing elemental Qassam rockets. They are made of dissolved sugar, have a range of only a few kilometers, do little damage if they fly apart, and often land in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Israeli military, after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas established a secret supply line from its former customers Iran and Syria. Long-range missiles, explosives, metal, and machinery have been pouring into Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. Experts say the missiles were shipped to Sudan, trucked across the vast Egyptian desert, and smuggled through narrow tunnels under the Sinai Peninsula.
Israel and Egypt imposed a tight blockade on Gaza in 2007 when Hamas terrorists ousted it from the Palestinian Authority in a violent coup and seized power in the coastal territory.
According to the Israeli military, smuggling continued and gained momentum even after Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist leader, and Hamas ally was elected president of Egypt in 2012 and subsequently ousted by the Egyptian military.
Terrorists in Gaza stockpiled longer-range foreign-made missiles, such as the Iranian-provided Katyusha and Fajr-5, which were used in the 2008 and 2012 wars with Israel.
After Morsi’s ouster, hundreds of smuggling tunnels were outlawed and closed in Egypt. In response, Gaza’s domestic arms industry grew by leaps and bounds.
Fabian Hinds, an independent security analyst specializing in missiles in the Middle East, says, “The Iranian scenario is that they started producing all their rockets in Gaza, providing the technological base and expertise, but now Palestine is self-sufficient. Most of the missiles we see today are domestically produced using ingenious technology.
A documentary program aired by Al Jazeera in September showed rare footage of Hamas terrorists exchanging Iranian-made missiles with a range of 80 km and a 175 kg bomb. Hamas terrorists defeated unexploded Israeli rockets used in past attacks and recovered explosives. They also recovered old water pipes and reused them for rocket casings.
In a makeshift factory, Hamas chemists and engineers mixed fuel from fertilizers, oxidizers, and other materials to produce missiles. Major contraband is believed to have entered Gaza through several tunnels that continue to operate.
Hamas has officially praised Iran’s support, which is said to be mainly in the form of blueprints, technical expertise, and engine testing. According to a U.S. State Department report, Iran provides $100 million annually to Palestinian terrorist organizations.
New Weapons Capabilities
According to Israeli military estimates, before the current fighting began, Hamas had 7,000 rockets of various ranges capable of covering almost all of Israel, as well as 300 anti-tank missiles and 100 anti-aircraft missiles. It also possessed dozens of drones and had an army of about 30,000 terrorists, including 400 maritime commandos.
In this war, Hamas deployed new weapons, including attack drones, unmanned submarines boarded by them, and the Ayyash, an unguided missile with a range of 250 kilometers. Israel claims that the new systems failed, or were incapable of direct attack.
The Israeli military claims that Operation Sentry Wall dealt a devastating blow to Hamas’s weapons research, storage, and production facilities. However, the Israeli government admits that it has been unable to stop the incessant firing of rockets.
Unlike guided missiles, these rockets were inaccurate, and most were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. However, by continuing to thwart Israel’s superior firepower, Hamas may have achieved its greatest objective.