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Friday, July 06, 2007

Hamas' new weapons arsenal

YNet has some details about the contents of the weapons arsenal that Hamas took over from Fatah when it took control of the Gaza Strip. The underlying assumption is that these weapons are more dangerous in Hamas' hands than they were in the hands of 'moderate' Fatah and its 'armed wing,' the 'al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.' As you might imagine, I don't agree with that assumption. But I think that it behooves the IDF to go into Gaza and deal with the weapons sooner rather than later in order to prevent Hamas from having the opportunity to deploy them.
For instance, the depots contained standard antitank Sager rockets and outdated anti-aircraft Strela missiles that could be used against Israeli planes.

Hamas also got hold of several dozen 122-milimeter caliber Grad B rockets (Katyushas), which were apparently brought into Gaza by the Islamic Jihad and seized by Fatah.

Other arms that are now in Hamas' hands include heavy anti-aircraft DShk machine guns, large quantities of explosives, thousands of guns, a few thousand RPG rockets and millions of bullets of various types.

Additionally, Hamas took hold of radio equipment, night vision systems and telescopes that were held at Fatah's warehouses.
Fatah should not have had these weapons in the first place, but that's almost beside the point now.

The good news is that the price of weapons in Gaza has now dropped by one third to one half, which may take away some of the incentive for continued smuggling. The additional bad news is that since it has such an abundance of weapons, Hamas will now increase the size of its army by 9000-15,000 men instead of by a previously planned 6000-12,000 men. The IDF needs to take care of those weapons before that increase is put in place.


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