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Let’s Take A Detailed Look At Weapon Systems Used By Hamas And The IDF

Every military confrontation is an opportunity to analyze the equipment used by various parties on the battlefield. This applies to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict too, in which both sides are using their weapons of choice for inflicting more and severe blows to each other’s forces.

The conflict started when Israeli authorities allegedly started evicting Palestinian people from Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood in east Jerusalem. After this, a clash happened between the Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers at the holy Al-Aqsa mosque on Friday, which made headlines worldwide. In response, between 10 and 12 May, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad fired over 1500 rockets into Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces, hitting homes and a school, killing six Israeli civilians and injuring at least 70 Israeli civilians. Israel responded with airstrikes into Gaza, and according to Gaza officials at least 30 Palestinians were killed, including ten children, and 203 more were wounded.

However, we will compare the military equipment used mainly by both sides. We need to remember that Israel is the strongest military state in the region with some of the most advanced military equipment worldwide including weapons of mass destruction, and it has only restrained itself to bombing Hamas-owned infrastructure and terror hideouts via airstrikes, according to Israeli Air Force.

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Hamas

Hamas was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood which in its Gaza branch had previously been nonconfrontational toward Israel and hostile to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin said in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

It has since then resorted to many violent and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians due to its hatred towards Jews, and have released many propaganda videos asking their followers to kill “zionists” by thrusting knives in their necks, and among one of the many lyrical threats, “we will eat you, Zionists, without salt” and that “ooooh…Zionist, a rocket will get you where you live.”

Naturally, these sentences are hard to be digested from a population claiming itself as “oppressed.” Hamas’s Al-Qassem Brigades, i.e. its military wing, have been mainly using high explosive and incendiary ammunition against Israel, including various types of locally-produced rockets, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and even ‘fire kites’ and balloons filled with chemicals which set fire to Israeli farms and nature reserves to hamper food supply and ‘starve Israeli population’.

The rockets used in the ongoing conflict are mainly locally-produced (with foreign assistance), varieties with max. ranges from 12 kilometres to even more than 120 kilometres. These are highly destructive causing severe damage to households, evident from the craters and destroyed houses. It has been noted by experts that many of these rockets are newly inducted with ‘A-120’ designation, fitted in locally-made launchers with 8 tubes each, evident with photos and videos. 

(Image: Crater formed by impact from one of the rockets in Israel)

Moreover, the S-40 rockets (with 40 kilometres range), also launched via 8-tube launchers were showed. These rockets, are stored in underground silos, sunk into the sand to hide them from IAF reconnaissance aircraft. After taking out of the silos and ‘installing’ them into launcher tubes, the rockets are attached with fuses.

Hamas also uses MLRS installed on Toyota pick-up trucks, and individual launching rails in the traditional low-cost style. Generally, these launchers look much ‘less neat’ than shown in propaganda photos and videos.

Hamas also uses various Soviet BM-21 Grad rockets, popular in the international market. Chinese rockets are also used.

Image: Foreign Rockets used by Hamas during Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008-January 18, 2009) Via: Institute of National Security Studies

Determining each type of rockets fired could be an impossible task as most of these are local homemade munitions. Apart from rockets, Hamas has used Anti-Tank Guided Missiles against IDF and Israeli civilian vehicles.

Hamas operates various Russian-made ATGMs, which are Konkurs, Kornet, Malyutka (Sagger), North Korean Bulsae-2 and European MILAN. This information is taken from independent sources, and The Frontier Vedette cannot comment on which systems have been used [or are being used] during the conflict. Hamas also uses Mortars extensively, and also possesses anti-aircraft missiles as well.

The IDF has also reported the usage of Kamikaze UAVs by Hamas terrorists from Gaza.

Israel

The main weapon in IDF which has outshone itself among other systems is the Iron Dome air defense system, featured in this latest report.

Talking about the main offensive weapons, the country’s main weapons are its soldiers. The Israeli Defense Forces have been battling Hamas insurgents in the streets of their country, trying to protect civilians against uncontrolled crowds attacking Jewish settlers’ homes and putting synagogues on fire.

During the retaliatory airstrikes under an Operation named “Guardian of the Walls”, the Israeli Air Force has been ponding Hamas settlements and weapon depots, targeting key leaders. On 12 May, the Israeli Air Force destroyed dozens of police and security installations along the Gaza Strip.

Notably, the Israeli Air Force operates a number of attack aircraft including the recently acquired fifth-generation F-35 Lightning-II, and was even the first country to deploy it in combat roles to bomb targets in the middle east. While its usage in the current conflict cannot be confirmed, but its possibility is certainly undeniable.

An Israeli Air Force F-35I ‘Adir’

The service has been using its F-15s and F-16s since quite some time to bomb targets in Gaza and surrounding hostile regions, taking part in many operations century, including the Operation Wooden Leg, Operation Grapes of Wrath, 2006 Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Protective Edge. On September 6, 2007, the Israeli Air Force successfully bombed an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor in Operation Orchard.

Some unconfirmed reports have stated that Israel is also using UCAVs and Artillery against targets in Gaza. TheFrontierVedette can neither confirm nor deny such reports.

IDF has released many videos and information about airstrikes against Hamas targets:

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TFV NewsDesk
Straight via the newsdesk of editorial team. Contact: editor.tfv@gmail.com

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