Hamas Tests Missiles Against Israel

A Palestinian militant from the al-Nasser Brigades, an armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), holds a shoulder missile launcher in Gaza City

A Palestinian militant from the al-Nasser Brigades, an armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), holds a shoulder missile launcher in Gaza City / AP

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Hamas has tested anti-aircraft missiles against Israel, Al-Monitor reports.

Israel said in 2012 that 10 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles had targeted its warplanes, marking an enhancement of Hamas’ military capabilities.

Al-Monitor found that Palestinian fighters conducted a field test of anti-aircraft missile in January 2014. The missile missed its target, but the test went unreported in Israeli papers.

Al-Monitor says Gaza anti-aircraft weapons number in the tens and are dispersed among different factions.

Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have announced on more than one occasion that their anti-aircraft guns and missiles had achieved a breakthrough that would affect the ability of attack aircraft to maneuver during combat. They claim to have damaged an Israeli helicopter, which was forced to land, and downed an armed surveillance drone. They did not provide dates for these incidents, but circulated YouTube videos of remains of Israeli drones it claims were downed by Hamas anti-aircraft missiles.

In mid-September 2013, the al-Qassam Brigades revealed that their troops in Gaza possessed SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles, which were publicly presented at a military parade attended by this Al-Monitor contributor. Also on display were light machine guns, sniper rifles, RPG anti-tank rockets, as well as heavy weapons mounted on four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Israeli military sources in 2012 attributed the availability of these weapons to the collapse of Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya, which led to the flow of massive amounts of sophisticated weapons into Gaza. According to a 2012 Al-Monitor report, approximately 1,000 such missiles went missing from Libya’s military stockpiles. Despite American efforts to locate them, only a few hundred were ever found.

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