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Tuesday, July 26, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Hamas bolstered by 'balance-altering' weapons from Libya

TEL AVIV — Hamas has been bolstered by a surge of missiles and rockets from war-torn Libya.


Officials said Libyan smugglers have acquired missiles and rockets captured by rebels in the war against Col. Moammar Gadhafi. They said the weapons have been smuggled through Egypt to the Gaza Strip.

"Weapons are available in Libya as a result of the unstable situation there, and Hamas has exploited it to buy weapons from Libyan smugglers," Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said.

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In a briefing on July 21, Ya'alon did not specify the Libyan munitions acquired by the Hamas regime, Middle East Newsline reported. But Ya'alon, also strategic affairs minister, asserted that the Libyan weapons have been flowing through Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip over the last four months.

Other officials said the Libyan weapons included anti-tank guided missiles, surface-to-air missiles and extended-range variants of the Russian-origin BM-21 Grad rocket. They said the Israeli government has discussed the Libyan weapons flow with the new military regime in Cairo.

"We estimate the number of missiles and rockets that have arrived from Libya to Gaza at about 1,000," an official said.

On July 25, an Israeli security source said Hamas has smuggled what he termed "balance-altering weapons" to the Gaza Strip. The source did not elaborate, but the term "balance-altering" has usually been reserved for long-range rockets or air defense systems.

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