Israeli Intel: Hamas Has Amassed 5,000 Rockets Since 2009 War

World Tribune (Link) (January 18, 2010)

Israel�s intelligence community has determined that Hamas was developing a capability to fire rocket salvos.

The sources said Hamas, with increased help from Iran and Hizbullah, was seeking to enhance the accuracy of Palestinian unguided missiles and rockets as well as connect batteries to a command and control system, Middle East Newsline reported. They said Hamas has accumulated more than 5,000 missiles and rockets in the aftermath of the 2009 war with Israel.

In 2009, Hamas tested its first rocket with a range of 60 kilometers, the sources said. They said Hamas has acquired at least 50 Iranian-origin Fajr-3 rockets, modified to contain a range of up to 80 kilometers, sufficient to strike Tel Aviv as well as Israel�s nuclear facility in Dimona.

�Hamas wants to develop a capability where it could use its missiles and rockets to stop an Israeli ground advance,� the source said. �Firing one or two rockets is insufficient. Instead, you have to fire 10 to 20 rockets toward a specific area.�

Israeli military sources said the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip was developing launchers that could fire a range of rockets and missiles in succession into Israel. They said the development included the assembly of vehicles with the capacity to fire up to 20 missiles at a time.

�Some of the techniques were similar to those the Americans have seen in Iraq,� a military source said.

The sources said Hamas was testing vehicles that could contain up to 12 launch tubes each. They said the launch vehicles could form a cluster and fire at least 20 122 mm Katyusha-class rockets within 30 seconds.

�The military assessment is that another war with Hamas is likely in 2010 as Iran rebuilds the [Hamas] army,� the source said. �All of the efforts by Hamas concentrate on how to stop or at least slow down an Israeli invasion while striking strategic facilities.�

Hamas has also acquired Russian-origin anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. The sources cited the SA-7 and SA-14 air-to-air missiles as well as the AT-3 and AT-5 anti-tank weapons.

The Israeli assessment also asserted that Hamas has developed a command and control network that could maintain contact with field units, particularly missile and rocket batteries. The assessment said many of the batteries would be stored in a maze of tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip.

�We see the Gaza Strip as the greatest potential source of conflict in the short term,� the source said.