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Hamas' military buildup in the Gaza Strip-Updated April 2008

April 10, 2008
The Lekarev Report
In the Footsteps of Hizbollah

hamas1.jpgA new Israeli study says that Hamas is engaged in the broadest and most significant military buildup in its history with help from Syria and Iran, restructuring its hierarchy and using more and more powerful weapons, especially longer-range rockets against Israel's southern communities.
The study, by an independent research group with close ties to the Israeli military establishment, says that while the buildup will take some years to complete, it is in an intensive phase that has already led to better infiltration into Israel and a rise in the breadth and precision of rocket fire.

"This is the first comprehensive analysis of the Hamas buildup," said Reuven Erlich, a retired Israeli colonel in military intelligence who heads The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the institute that produced the study. "It is based on a wide range of sources. And what is very clear is that Hamas, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, is aiming to use rocket fire to draw the Israeli military in."

The 52-page study, available HERE, says that after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005, Hamas began a consolidation of power. It won the Palestinian elections against the more secular Fatah party in 2006 and after an awkward shared power arrangement, routed Fatah forces from Gaza last summer.

According to a report by the Shin Bet internal security services quoted in the study, Hamas has smuggled at least 80 tons of explosives into Gaza since last summer. It says this accounts for more than half the amount smuggled into Gaza since Israel's 2005 withdrawal, evidence of intensification the study alleges. The study also says that Hamas has obtained advanced anti-tank devices like those used by Hezbollah against Israel in its 2006 war, as well as powerful roadside bombs for use in border areas where Israeli vehicles might be expected to pass in pursuit of rocket launchers.

The report also documents that many of Hamas' fighters have been trained in Iran, Lebanon and Syria.


Please click here for The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's website   
It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) , an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli Intelligence Community and it is located near Gelilot , north of Tel Aviv. It is headed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich .

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