June 24, 2021

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Iran helped Hamas develop missile technology used to attack Israel

A residential building in Ashkelon that was damaged by a rocket launched overnight from the Gaza Strip - AMIR COHEN /REUTERS
A residential building in Ashkelon that was damaged by a rocket launched overnight from the Gaza Strip – AMIR COHEN /REUTERS

Iran has played a key role in helping the militant Palestinian group Hamas to develop the deadly weapons arsenal that has allowed it to hit targets deep inside Israel, according to Western intelligence officials.

Senior Hamas commanders are believed to have made regular visits to Iran, where they have undergone training in the production and operation of sophisticated weapons systems, as well as inspecting rocket production facilities controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The IRGC’s elite Quds Force – which translates as ‘Jerusalem Force’ – has responsibility for Iran’s dealings with Hamas. Qassim Soleimani, the unit’s late commander, took personal charge of overseeing Hamas’s arms build-up until he was killed in a drone strike authorised by Donald Trump, the former US president, last January.

Intelligence officials believe the technological assistance provided by Iran, which includes detailed advice on setting up Hamas’s own production infrastructure in Gaza, has resulted in a significant improvement in the terrorist organisation’s ability to strike targets deep within Israel.

In the past few days Hamas rockets have struck major Israeli cities and towns such as Tel Aviv and Lod, and enabled Hamas to focus on particular targets, such as the country’s main Ben Gurion airport, prompting a number of major airline carriers to cancel flights as a security precaution.

The Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system (L) intercepting rockets (R) fired by Hamas - ANAS BABA /AFP
The Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system (L) intercepting rockets (R) fired by Hamas – ANAS BABA /AFP

Cooperation between Iran and Hamas has intensified during the past five years as the Palestinian group has sought to improve its military capabilities after the defeat it suffered at the hands of Israeli forces in 2014, when the Israeli military launched a ground offensive aimed at destroying Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure.

“The collaboration between Iran and Hamas has resulted in the organisation having far more effective weapons,” a senior Western intelligence official told The Daily Telegraph. “Iran’s assistance has resulted in significant improvements in terms of range, precision, and the extent of destruction the weapons can cause.”

Since the latest clashes between Israel and Palestinian militants erupted last week, Hamas and other Islamist terror groups based in Gaza, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have fired an estimated 1,600 rockets at Israel.

The Israeli military has responded by launching hundreds of air strikes in Gaza, and there are mounting fears that Israeli forces are preparing to mount another ground offensive in the enclave.

Israeli defence officials estimate that Hamas and other Islamist terror groups based in Gaza have around 30,000 rockets and missiles. Previously Hamas relied on short-range Qassam rockets, which have a range of about 6 miles and were used to attack the nearby Israeli seaport of Ashkelon.

But in the latest attacks on Israel, Hamas has used medium-range rockets with a range of 25 miles, as well as the M-75 and J-80 rockets, which have ranges of between 50-60 miles. Israeli defence officials believe these rockets have been manufactured in Gaza based on an Iranian design.

Original News : https://news.yahoo.com/iran-helped-hamas-develop-missile-173018604.html

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