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Wednesday, June 16, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Hamas said to have 5,000 missiles and rockets
in Gaza

JERUSALEM — Israel's intelligence community has assessed that the Hamas regime was overseeing the deployment of at least 5,000 missiles and rockets in the Gaza Strip.


Israel Security Agency director Yuval Diskin said Hamas as well as the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad have deployed 5,000 missiles and rockets in the Gaza Strip. Diskin said the weapons have a range of up to 40 kilometers, capable of reaching the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

"They continue to arm themselves both through production and smuggling," Diskin said.

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In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on June 15, Diskin said Hamas and other Palestinian forces have acquired long-range rockets, Middle East Newsline reported. Diskin said these rockets were capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

"Hamas and Islamic Jihad have over 5,000 rockets with ranges of up to 40 kilometers, most of them home-made," Diskin said. "Of those rockets, 4,000 belong to Hamas. They also have dozens of more technologically-advanced models that have been smuggled into Gaza Strip."

Diskin, in remarks released by the Knesset committee, did not identify the long-range rockets acquired by Hamas. But Israeli sources said the rockets included the Fajr-5, with a range of more than 80 kilometers.

The intelligence chief warned that Hamas sought to acquire medium- and long-range rockets from Iran. He said missile components were being smuggled from Egypt via the vast tunnel network to the Gaza Strip.

"Lifting the naval blockade [from the Gaza Strip] would constitute a very dangerous development," Diskin, responding to the latest Western campaign, said. "A port in Gaza would be a major security breach, despite the option of inspecting vessels prior to their arrival."

Hamas was also said to be working with Islamic insurgents in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Diskin identified the insurgents as Al Qaida and those aligned with the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah.

On June 16, the Israel Army detected a squad of gunmen that infiltrated from Sinai north of the Israeli city of Eilat. In an operation coordinated with Egypt, Israeli troops killed one of the infiltrators and found an improvised explosive device. The other squad members fled back into Sinai.

"Sinai attracts Al Qaida [insurgents] who come from Iraq through Jordan," Diskin said. "Terror facilitators from Gaza also make their way [to Sinai], as are those who help Hizbullah. The Sinai Peninsula is a vast area and it is very difficult to control who enters it."

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