SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE REPORT — While hardly a match for Israel's vastly superior and highly trained forces, Hamas's competence on the battlefield lies not in the finesse or accuracy of its weapons, but in its ability to manufacture and procure supplies improvised rockets, mortars, explosives, anti-tank guided missiles and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles (MANPADS) cheaply, quickly and under the radar of your neighbor with focus on quantity, not quality.
“In the first category, Hamas has a surplus of small arms and light weapons due to its own logistical efforts and, of course, Iran. All those cheap Norinco Type 56-1 automatic rifles are seized on ships going to Yemen anyway,” said Miguel Miranda, founder of Southeast Asia monitoring service Arms Show Tracker. “Thanks to Iran, there are also a large number of RPG-7s and their derivatives, such as the Chinese Type 69. Hamas propaganda has also shown that they are producing tandem warheads for their RPG-7s. This ammunition is based on a Russian design and is intended to defeat current tank armor.
A large part of the arsenal is believed to be included short-range missiles named after the armed wing of Hamas, Qassams. These boast a range of roughly 6.2 miles, but come with erratic flight paths — which include errant landings on their own soil.
In terms of medium-range weapons, Hamas reportedly has missiles based on Russian and Iranian designs that can travel up to 25 miles—as far as Tel Aviv—as well as a number of Russian Grad projectiles with a trajectory of twelve miles.
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The longest-range missiles can extend further, potentially landing in Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion Airport. These include the M-75, an indigenous version of Iran's 333mm long-range missile system, the domestic R-160 which can reportedly carry a 130-pound warhead and a J-80 – developed in 2014 with a range of at least 50 million. Israeli officials do he claimed some rockets have landed as far as 75 miles from the launch site.
However, the number of rockets in Hamas' possession is different wildly, with experts estimating the number somewhere between five and twenty thousand. Hamas has also stockpiled dozens of Russian-made mortars and laser-guided anti-tank missiles. called Cornet. It is known in the West as NATO designation AT-14 Spriggan.
“The real reason for the IDF's concern is the supply of anti-tank missiles to Hamas,” Miguel emphasized. “What's strange is that (Hamas) has shown some North Korean Bolsae anti-tank missiles in the past.” But we know they also have Russian-made Kornet missiles, which are ubiquitous in the region. The availability of ATGMs in Gaza and surrounding cities in the strip is a real frustration for the Israeli ground forces.
In recent years, Hamas has also introduced the “Shahab” suicide drone, essentially a replica of the Iranian one Abadil-2. Also he referred as a “homing munition”, this weapon system can linger near a target and then detonate on impact.
Hamas operatives will also retain a collection weapons, incl adjusted in soviet style AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, long-range sniper rifles and heavy machine guns. Specifically, he is equipped with Iranian-made rifles, especially rifles Sayyad, a wide-range .50 caliber firearm. Some reports also suggest that the militants have duplicates Chinese machine guns.
In terms of tactics, Hamas relied on ambushes and suicide bombers and even adopted illegal tactics dressing up IDF uniforms and the movement of presumably stolen Israeli military vehicles are causing confusion.
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It remains unclear exactly how many fighters, typically belonging to Hamas's militant wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are ready to fight. Estimates range from seven to fifty thousand. In addition, brigades work a self-proclaimed military academy complete with specialist cyber security training along with a naval commando unit.
Such a stock does not arise in a vacuum.
“We produced the missiles locally, but the long-range ones came from abroad, they came from Iran, Syria and other sources via Egypt,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said. he said Al Jazeera's Arabic service last year.
Machines needed to make rockets and mortars, or even Whole the weapon, broken into parts for assembly, is smuggled into Gaza via the Egyptian border, often originating in Sudan and Libya, using a vast maze of deep, sophisticated tunnels stretching from the Sinai Peninsula to Gaza. Over the past decade, however, Egypt has cracked down on black market operations, prompting Hamas to cultivate them own facilities for the production of weapons and explosives from raw materials under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah commanders.
“Instead of giving them a fish or teaching them how to fish, we taught our allies and friends how to make a hook and now they have missile capabilities and technology,” said General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, IRGC leader. air force, he said in early 2021. “Today, Palestinians launch rockets instead of throwing stones.”
Hamas then often uses civilian housing and infrastructure to hide these weapons and the IDF's constantly adapting monitoring and intelligence. While smuggling routes between Egypt and Gaza are still in use, it is believed that Hamas has become more adept at domestic production – even redesigning plumbing pipes and parts scavenged from dirty Israeli weaponry.
In comparison, Israel has one of them biggest the planet's per capita defense budgets and warehouses full of a massive fleet of drones, advanced missile boats, tanks, and an advanced air force of hundreds of F-35s and F-16s. To add to its dominance, Israel has an estimated 170,000 active troops and another 360,000 reservists on standby.
IDF consistently ranks in the top 20 most powerful militaries in the world, according to the Global Firepower Index, a database that evaluates factors such as troop numbers, armaments, technology and financial resources.
Israel's arsenal includes advanced missile boats, tanks, attack helicopters and a large fleet of drones. But the IDF's main strength lies in its air force, which consists primarily of top-of-the-line American aircraft, counting on it hundreds of F-16s and F-35s.
Most notably, Israel invented the Iron Dome missile defense system with ninety percent of incoming missiles capture success rate – although it is ineffective against Hamas' short-range rockets, which have been used more focused during this last war.
“Hamas has nothing close to the military capacity that Israel has. In a head-to-head battle, Israeli forces would quickly destroy the enemy Hamas forces due to their superior firepower,” opined Karl Kaltenthaler, director of the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies and professor of political science at the University of Akron. “But Hamas does not plan to wage that kind of war. It will be a war of guerilla tactics on the part of Hamas and possibly a long-term insurgency in Gaza. They don't need massive firepower to do that.”
On Kaltenthaler's authority, the most critical factors in Hamas' weapons stockpile are the massive support they receive from Iran and the smuggling of weapons Hamas procures from elsewhere.
“Without Iranian help, Hamas would be a much weaker force than it is today,” he warned.
According to a defense technologist and co-author The hunt for the caliphateco-author Wes J. Bryant, Hamas primarily uses older Chinese and Russian models of assault rifles, machine guns, and grenades, in addition to its own rocket production capabilities used specifically to bomb Israel's famed Iron Dome.
“Most fighters carry some variant of the AK-47. All of these weapons are the same weapons that US forces use in all of our counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East, and the supply channels are essentially the same. Most often a state-sponsored adversary, in this case Iran,” he continued. “There is also such a proliferation of Soviet-era weapons in the Middle East that there are many ways that Hamas and parallel forces are supplied.”
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