Gaza bombings
Photo: AP

IDF says hit Hamas' arms development site

Target bombed Sunday night near Gaza's Islamic college used by Palestinian gunmen to produce improved rockets. 'They used the knowledge of the college's researchers,' military source says

Israeli officials said Monday that the Israel Defense Forces managed to hit a target in Gaza which served as Hamas' arms development site.


"It was a target of high quality, and one of the State of Israel's strategic targets in Operation Cast Lead," a defense source said.


According to intelligence information gathered by the IDF and Shin Bet, the compound near the Islamic college in Gaza was being used as a chemical lab and as Hamas' important explosives lab in Gaza.


The Palestinian group used knowledge delivered from Iran and other places in order to increase the range of its Qassam and Grad rockets and develop advanced explosive devices, mortar shells and other weapons against Israel.


According to preestimations, paralyzing this compound would severely disrupt Hamas' ability to withstand a long battle.


This is what was left (Photo: AFP)


The target was presented as the next "high quality target" in a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and heads of the defense establishment, following attacks on a series of other important targets such as Grad launching pads and tunnels bombed Sunday, and the Hamas command attacked on Saturday.


Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi approval to launch an airstrike against that target.


Chemical lab

The Air Force bombed the compound on Monday night. According to information which has yet to be confirmed, the area was attacked again on Monday.


According to the military's estimates, the compound will not be restored in the near future. Olmert, Barak and Foreign Minister Livni praised the IDF for destroying the target.


"We have been aware of this place for a long time," an army official said. "It was also attacked by Fatah in its battles against Hamas. It's Hamas' chemical lab, a type of Rafael (the Israeli authority for development of weapons and military technology).


"It was a place of significant terrorist activity carried out using the knowledge of lecturers and researchers from the Islamic college and others.


"That's where they combined the college's academic knowledge with Hamas' military needs. That's where they increased the rocket range, developed explosive charges, fuses and explosives. There's no doubt that this was a target of high quality, and one of the Air Force and Israeli intelligence's strategic targets in Hamas terrorist infrastructure."


פרסום ראשון: 12.29.08, 16:03
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