Iran has supplied Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip with a missile that is capable of striking Tel Aviv, Israeli defense sources said.
Military Intelligence Chief General Amos Yadlin told the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee on November 3 that Hamas has recently tested a missile capable of reaching targets at a distance of 37 miles.
Hamas has declined to confirm or deny reports of the test.
The missile was fired into the Mediterranean Sea, Yadlin told lawmakers, though he did not say whether the weapon was manufactured in Gaza or was smuggled into the Gaza Strip from abroad.
Yadlin said this latest development is indicative of the Hamas regime’s growing military capabilities.
He said Hezbollah, the Shi’ite guerilla group based in southern Lebanon, has also been stockpiling weapons.
“The organization continues to arm itself and it is amassing many weapons by [acquiring them from] Iran via Syria,” the MI chief said. “It is accumulating these arms [and maintaining them] south of the Litani River, inside civilian homes, in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 [which brought an end to the Second Lebanon War in 2006].”
The general also reported that Syria continues to play a key role in arming both organizations.
“Syria has turned into the main factory and weapons cache for Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as for Syria itself, with financial aid from Iran,” Yadlin said.
“Syria is operating on two parallel tracks - benevolence toward the West, and in its backyard it is becoming a weapons factory for the axis of evil,” Yadlin said.
As for Iran, Yadlin warned that an Iranian plant used for uranium enrichment in the city of Qom, whose existence was recently exposed by the West, is geared for military purposes.
“The plant in Qom was not intended for civilian purposes as the Iranians claim,” Yadlin said. “The facility contains advanced centrifuges which can be used to expedite the process of uranium enrichment. These are the latest model of centrifuges.”
“This past summer was the quietest from a security standpoint that we have had in many years,” Yadlin said, citing a combination of Israeli deterrence alongside Arab expectations regarding the Mideast policy of the Obama administration.
Nonetheless, Yadlin noted that Israel’s neighbors are focusing on building up their forces.
“Underneath the surface, our enemies, led by Iran, are continuing to gain strength,” Yadlin said. “Iran is financing these activities, training forces, and arming Hamas and Hezbollah.”
The MI chief said that Hamas is currently not interested in a confrontation with Israel. Rather, it is devoting its energies to solidifying its rule in the Gaza Strip while continuing its weapons smuggling operations.