Hamas gunman with antitank missile launcher
Senior defense officials are extremely concerned by the fact that Hamas has recently seized large quantities of anti-aircraft missiles, antitank rockets and Katyusha rockets.
In the course of Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in the last several weeks, the group's gunmen took control over Fatah and PA security forces' depots containing vast amounts of weapons.
A Southern Command official explained that some of the weapons were smuggled into Gaza in violation of agreements and understandings with Israel, and may pose substantial risk to the IDF.
For instance, the depots contained standard antitank Sager rockets and outdated anti-aircraft Strela missiles that could be used against Israeli planes.
Hamas also got hold of several dozen 122-milimeter caliber Grad B rockets (Katyushas), which were apparently brought into Gaza by the Islamic Jihad and seized by Fatah.
Other arms that are now in Hamas' hands include heavy anti-aircraft DShk machine guns, large quantities of explosives, thousands of guns, a few thousand RPG rockets and millions of bullets of various types.
Additionally, Hamas took hold of radio equipment, night vision systems and telescopes that were held at Fatah's warehouses.
Hamas' capture of these weapons has triggered a drastic decline in the prices of arms in the Strip, which dropped by a third, and at some cases even by half.
A senior military source said that following the obtaining of such massive quantities of arms, Hamas plans to increase the size of its security forces. An original plan to augment the army by 6,000, to 12,000 men, has changed and now stands at a planned increase of 9,000 to 15,000 men.