JERUSALEM — Israel has reported that Hamas ordered
surface-to-air missiles meant to threaten Israeli air operations over the
Officials said the Israeli intelligence community has received
information that Hamas has ordered and received anti-aircraft missiles. They
said the missiles were Soviet-origin SA-7s, which arrived in
the Gaza Strip from neighboring Egypt.
On Sunday, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was briefed on the
Hamas missile order. Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of military
intelligence's research department, said the Hamas surface-to-air missiles
could endanger helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that fly over the Gaza
Strip. He also reported the arrival of anti-tank missiles to the Gaza Strip.
A Cabinet statement said Baidatz discussed the "violent clashes between
Fatah and Hamas, the increased smuggling of war materiel from Sinai." The
statement did not elaborate.
Earlier, the Yediot Aharonot daily reported that $6 million worth of
weapons were smuggled into the Gaza Strip last week. The newspaper based its
report on Israeli military sources.
Hamas received its first shipment of SA-7s in 2004, officials said. A
year later, the Israeli military determined a short-range air threat to its
helicopters and combat jets that operated over the Gaza Strip.
Still, the military has never reported a Palestinian SA-7 strike.
Military sources said Palestinian insurgents tried to fire rocket-propelled
grenades and an indigenous version of an air weapon toward Israeli
helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles in February 2006.
Officials said Hamas has sought to obtain the SA-7 and more advanced
missiles from Iran and Hizbullah. They said Iran has agreed in principle to
expand training of Hamas fighters in a range of military skills, including
anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.