Members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza
Members of the Hamas military wing parading in Gaza
Photo: EPA
Members of the Hamas military wing parading in Gaza

Top IDF commander says Hamas has amassed vast arsenal

Unnamed Israeli officer says terror group that rules Gaza has also acquired dozens of unmanned aerial vehicles, has army of some 30,000 militants, including 400 naval commandos with equipment to carry out seaborne operations

Associated Press |
Published: 02.11.21 , 23:18
The Hamas terror group ruling Gaza has replenished its arsenal since a 2014 war with Israel and now has a vast collection of rockets, guided missiles and drones, a senior Israeli military commander said Thursday.
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  • According to Israeli military estimates, Hamas has some 7,000 rockets, as well as 300 anti-tank and 100 anti-aircraft missiles, the commander said.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza
    Members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza
    Members of the Hamas military wing parading in Gaza
    (Photo: EPA)
    It also has acquired dozens of unmanned aerial vehicles and has an army of some 30,000 militants, including 400 naval commandos who have received sophisticated training and equipment to carry out seaborne operations, the commander added.
    He spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines.
    The smaller Islamic Jihad terror group, which often acts independently of Hamas, boasts a similar arsenal, the commander said.
    That includes 6,000 rockets, dozens of drones and anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and some 400 naval forces.
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    Hamas fighters in one of the group's Gaza attack tunnels
    Hamas fighters in one of the group's Gaza attack tunnels
    Hamas fighters in one of the group's Gaza attack tunnels
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Hamas also made use of attack tunnels beneath the Gaza frontier during the 2014 war. Israel has discovered and destroyed around 20 tunnels since hostilities ended, including a large one last October that was still under construction.
    The commander said an underground barrier equipped with sensors to detect tunnels is 99% complete and will cover the entire 37-mile (60-kilometer) frontier.
    Hamas, which is opposed to Israel's existence, seized control of Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Since then, Israel has fought three wars with Hamas and numerous smaller skirmishes with it and Islamic Jihad.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    כוחות צה"ל גבול רצועת עזה
    כוחות צה"ל גבול רצועת עזה
    IDF troops near the border with Gaza
    (Photo: AFP)
    Israel has pointed to Hamas' increasingly sophisticated military capabilities to justify the blockade it has imposed on the coastal strip since the militant group seized power. The blockade, supported by neighboring Egypt, has taken a heavy toll on the territory's population of 2 million Palestinians.
    Last week, the International Criminal Court in the Hague ruled that its chief prosecutor had jurisdiction to open an investigation into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas.
    If an investigation is opened, the prosecutor has said she could look at Israeli military strikes in Gaza as well as Palestinian terror groups' rocket fire and use of human shields.
    Israeli officials say they are not deterred.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    הרמטכ"ל אביב כוכבי
    הרמטכ"ל אביב כוכבי
    IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi warning last month that Israel would use massive force against missiles stored in residential areas
    (Photo: INSS)
    IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi warned in a recent speech that in future conflicts, Israel would use heavy force in residential areas where rockets are stored and launched.
    He said Israeli troops would warn civilians to evacuate their homes before launching such strikes.

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