Mega-terror outfit Hamas could never have fired thousands of rockets at Israel during the recent Gaza war, unless it had received technical support from Iran and funding from Qatar.
According to Christian Science Monitor, Hamas’ patrons in Tehran have shepherded the radical Palestinian organization’s weapons program for over two decades. Last week they celebrated the recent fighting as evidence of another leap in Hamas’ military capabilities.
“The reality is that a new Palestine has emerged which is not fighting with rocks, but with rockets,” boasted Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
The unprecedented barrage that Hamas and the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired at Israel fits a pattern that Iran is seeking to inscribe across the Middle East through its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthi rebels in Yemen, and militias in Iraq and Syria.
Iran “sees a trajectory where [with] every round of confrontation, the deterrence potential and the military power of its allies on the ground is increased,” says Fabian Hinz, co-author of a recent report for the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on Iran’s missile and drone programs.
Christian Science Monitor says: Israel undoubtedly did enormous damage to Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip, hitting 1,500 targets during the recent hostilities. Its airstrikes on Hamas’ secret rocket-building factories displayed its intelligence prowess, and it shocked Hamas by killing a number of its military commanders in hiding, while destroying some 60 miles of underground tunnels known as the “Hamas metro.”
But the progress that Hamas armorers have made since the last sizable Israel-Hamas war in 2014 was startling. Over the 11 days of the recent conflict they shot 4,360 rockets at Israel, more than quadrupling the rate at which they fired during two months of hostilities in 2014, and for the first time they targeted Jerusalem, previously out of range.
The IISS report notes that Hamas has moved beyond “very primitive” early designs to longer-range rockets, “massively aided” by Iran. It cites leaked intelligence documents showing that Iranian experts trained PIJ technicians in the production of solid rocket fuel chemicals, and even tried to set up a factory in Syria to make them.
“We do say this loud and clear … Iranians are the ones who support us with weapons, money, and food,” a senior PIJ official, Ramez al-Halabi, told an Iraqi TV channel on the eve of the fight.
After the battle, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised speech that Iran “did not hold back money, weapons, and technical support. Thanks.”
Hamas and the PIJ are elements of the Iranian-led “Axis of Resistance” against Israel and U.S. influence in the Middle East; fellow participants include the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah organization in Lebanon, which also briefly joined in the recent conflict by firing a few of its rockets at Israel, and Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have fired Iranian-supplied or Iranian-designed missiles deep into neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The Israel Defense Forces have detected waterproofed packages of weapons, some floated in barrels, dropped offshore by speedboats operating from Egypt and Lebanon at points where sea currents and prevailing winds carry them to the Gaza coast.
As we know, until now, Israel’s policy toward Gaza has been to maintain as much quiet as possible. But, with the news of Hamas restarting production of thousands of rockets, Israeli policymakers now should reboot their previous policy about Gaza. At the same time, Israel now should focus on enhancing its size of supporters in the Muslim world as well as in the media. The recent Gaza war has proved – majority of the global media are nefariously anti-Israel and even anti-Jew. For a country like Israel, this is no good news.