Israel’s military has determined that Hamas and its Palestinian militia allies were rapidly replenishing their missile and rocket arsenals.
Israel Military Intelligence has determined that Hamas and such allies as Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees have refurbished their weapons production facilities in wake of their war with Israel in mid-2014. MI has assessed that Iran supplied funding, training and components that could replenish their arsenal by the summer of 2015.
“They are assembling new rockets as fast as they can,” an MI officer said.
In a briefing in late January 2015, the officer said Hamas and its allies were believed to be struggling with the production of long-range rockets. He cited Hamas’ fire of the M-302 rocket, developed by Syria and with a range of at least 160 kilometers.
MI has determined that Hamas alone was assembling hundreds of rockets a week, most of them extended-range projectiles that could fly 40 kilometers. Officers said the rockets were using steel and other material commercially available as well as brought into the Gaza Strip for civilian reconstruction.
In January 2015, MI tracked at least 20 rocket launches from the Gaza Strip. The officers said the rockets were fired into the Mediterranean Sea to determine such requirements as range and accuracy.
“They will be fully ready within a few months,” the officer said.
??Egypt Again Calls Hamas ‘Terrorist’
Egypt has again classified Hamas a terrorist movement.
A court in Cairo ruled that Hamas’ military wing comprised a terrorist organization. The decision by the so-called Court of Urgent Matters was handed down in a suit by Egyptians who accused Hamas’ Izzedin Kassam military wing of participating in Islamic attacks on the military and police.
“Documents brought by the plaintiffs proved that Izzedin Kassem were involved in bombings around Egypt,” the court said.
The ruling asserted that Hamas had strayed from its goal of eliminating Israel. Instead, Hamas was said to be working with Islamic rebels against the Egyptian Army and Central Security Forces throughout the Sinai Peninsula.
“Their goal now is against Egyptian security,” the ruling said.
Under the ruling, Izzedin Kassam members would be declared terrorists.
The court did not stipulate what measures would be taken against the Hamas fighters.
Egypt has long accused Hamas of cooperating with Ansar Beit Maqdis, now part of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Officials said Hamas allowed the smuggling of fighters and weapons from the Gaza Strip to Sinai.
Hamas has denied any link to the Islamic revolt in Sinai. The Palestinian movement, which despite the return of the Palestinian Authority still controls the Gaza Strip, has pledged to increase security cooperation with Cairo.
“Despite all attempts at defamation, the Kassem Brigades are the symbol of resistance against the Israeli occupation, and a symbol of the [Palestinian] nation’s pride and dignity,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.