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Behind the Headlines: The arming of Hamas


[Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA: Report: “Five smuggling operations from Egypt
into Gaza were carried out successfully since the beginning of August. ”

Should be: “We are aware of five smuggling operations from Egypt into Gaza
carried out successfully since the beginning of August and clueless how many
others were carried out in addition to the five.”

Behind the Headlines: The arming of Hamas
Briefing by Assistant Chief of the Israeli Security Agency at the weekly
Cabinet meeting
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tuesday, 28 August, 2007

On Sunday, 26 August 2007 the assistant chief of the Israeli Security Agency
(ISA) briefed the cabinet on the issue of weapons smuggling into Gaza and
the arming of Hamas as a result.

Following is a series of press reports on the briefing:

“There is a clear directive from Hamas headquarters abroad to Hamas here -
to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack inside Israel. We are following
the situation closely.” This grave information was delivered by the
assistant chief of the ISA during his briefing at the weekly Cabinet

According to the assistant chief, Hamas in the Gaza Strip is “deeply
enmeshed in strategic complications”. It cannot manage the government, is
unable to obtain international legitimacy or solve the problem of the
crossings. The heads of the organization are unable to achieve any
accomplishments that have any influence on day-to-day activities. All these
increase the likelihood of a change in their terrorism policy – in Gaza, in
Judea and Samaria and perhaps even outside of Israel.

Arms smuggling has reached a peak since Hamas took control of the Gaza

In 2006, 31 tons of military grade explosive materials were smuggled into
the Strip. The massive increase in smuggled arms began in 2006, and did not
consist only of explosives: 14000 rifles, about 5 million units of light
ammunition, 40 rockets, 150 RPG bombs and 65 launchers, 20 advanced
anti-tank missiles and 10 anti-aircraft missiles were also smuggled in.

Latest reports show that since the Hamas takeover in June, 40 tons of
explosives were smuggled into the Strip from Egypt. This is the same amount
that was smuggled in during the previous two years. There was also an
increase in the frequency and quantity of Kassam attacks.

Five smuggling operations from Egypt into Gaza were carried out successfully
since the beginning of August. The ammunition smuggled in included more than
13 tons of explosives and 150 RPG launchers. This occurred in conjunction
with a decrease in Egyptian preventive operations.

The significance of these great amounts of ammunition and explosives is that
they upgrade the terrorist organization capabilities, enabling them to
increase the power of bombs and explosive belts, increase their ability to
carry out terrorist attacks and excavate tunnels, and also to enhance rocket
range and the shelf life of rockets. In addition, Hamas is sending hundreds
of terrorist to Iran for advanced training.

Preventative measures by the IDF and security forces included the
destruction of 20 tunnels (after warning the inhabitants of the apartment
building in which they were situated) and destruction of an additional 8
tunnels by the Israel Air Force.

The assistant chief of the ISA notified the cabinet of an increase in
terrorist activities during the previous week – 56 attacks as opposed to 43
in the previous week, and 20 rocket attacks into Israel.

The notable trend is an increase in rocket attacks into Israel, with an
average of 70 attacks per month.

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