Hamas stockpiles weapons in Gaza with help from the head of the terrorist snake.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) reported December 30 that Iran smuggled about 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of short-range rockets and dozens of advanced anti-tank missiles into Gaza during 2010.
That is the estimated number of weapons that made it into the Gaza Strip. A clearer picture of just how much military support Iran is willing to give its terrorist proxy emerges when you include the number of weapons confiscated before they reached Palestinian trigger fingers. Tehran uses smuggling routes that go through Sudan and the Sinai Peninsula, and it’s not uncommon for Egyptian security forces to uncover stockpiles of weaponry.
This past August, Egyptian police found a stockpile of 200 surface-to-air missiles in three arms depots located in the Sinai. In September, Egyptian troops conducted a series of raids in the peninsula, uncovering machine guns, ammunition, over 170 anti-aircraft shells, 90 artillery shells and anti-tank landmines. And to cap off the year, Egyptian security forces uncovered a munitions stockpile in the middle of the Sinai Desert in late December, Haaretz reported.
All of these weapons were headed to the same place—Gaza. While there was no “sent-from” stamp on the packages of munitions, it is no secret, as Shin Bet made clear in its latest report, that the weapons came from Iran.
Hamas is evidently willing to use the weapons too. Three weeks ago, an Israeli tank was struck by an advanced Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missile. Israeli defense officials claim the sophisticated, laser-guided missile came from Iran. Incidentally, the same type of missile was used by Iranian-backed Hezbollah to knock out several dozen Israel Defense Forces (idf) tanks in the latest Lebanon war.
The smuggling of weapons into Gaza has undermined Israel’s defeat of Hamas in Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. Hamas has increased the number of missiles it is lobbing into Israel in recent weeks, which has some wondering if another round of fighting is coming. jta reports: “Militants fired more than 200 Grad missiles, Kassam rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory in 2010, according to the Israel Defense Forces, compared to 160 in 2009.” Nearly 30 of them were fired from Gaza in the previous week alone. Even if these numbers are significantly less than the number of rockets fired in 2008, before Operation Cast Lead, they still reveal an increase in Hamas’s boldness and a decrease in Israel’s level of deterrence. idf Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi summed up the situation by calling it “fragile and explosive.”
The Gaza-Israel border isn’t the only place heating up. In the same year-end report, Shin Bet also warned that Hamas is trying to reestablish its military infrastructure in the West Bank, mainly in the Hebron area.Israel knows from where Hamas is getting its weaponry to solidify its rule in Gaza and spread its tentacles to the West Bank, yet it lacks the will to deal with the cause of the problem. Iran continues to exploit this weakness and liberally gives Hamas the deadly tools to push at Israel. Read “Why the Hamas Victory Won’t Last” for more on how Iran and its proxy’s aggressive policies will come to an end.