BEIRUT – Hamas has no plans to stop arming itself and an Iranian official has indicated to WND/G2Bulletin that the Islamic republic intends to continue providing the Palestinian group with weapons, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Hamas’ deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said that although the cease-fire with Israel and its decision to ease the Gaza border blockade is based on Hamas’ willingness to stop arming itself, that won’t happen.
Marzouk said that Hamas needs the weapons to protect itself and will not stop obtaining and manufacturing them.
An Iranian diplomat here gave WND/G2Bulletin similar indications that such arms shipments not only will continue, but Iran will help ensure that Hamas remains close to the Islamic republic.
Ever since the opposition began to overthrow the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Iran, Hamas has distanced itself from Iran and sided with Sunni efforts of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to overthrow al-Assad. The group has more closely aligned itself with Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Hamas belongs.
U.S. officials agree that Iran will continue looking for ways to resupply Hamas. This development will be a major obstacle in Israel’s attempt to work out a long-term cease-fire agreement with Hamas.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is to visit the Pentagon to discuss the topic of Iran rearming Hamas.
Officials say that Iranian ships leave Bandar Abbas in Iran and drop off the weapons in Sudan. They then are taken over land into Sinai, and moved into Gaza through tunnels.
These officials say that this development was confirmed through spy satellites. In October, Israel launched an attack on a facility in Sudan’s Khartoum thought to be manufacturing weapons on behalf of Iran and destined for Gaza. Some of those weapons were thought to include the Fajr-5s and now the Shahaab long-range missile under license from Tehran.
Officials also expressed concern that Iran could use Sudan to fire missiles into Israel. “Regardless of the cease-fire agreement, we will attack and destroy any shipment of arms to Gaza once we have spotted it,” an Israeli defense source told the Times of London.
The shipment is said to include Iranian-made Fajr-5 medium-range missiles. These are the only weapons thought to be in Hamas’ possession capable of reaching all of Israel’s major population centers.
Recent targeting of Tel Aviv with Fajr-5 missiles was determined to be a red line for Israel, resulting in massive air assaults on Gaza in an effort to knock out what was thought to be areas where the missiles were stored.
Nevertheless, Hamas continued to fire Fajr-5 missiles, raising concerns that not all the hidden depots had been discovered. That prompted the Israelis to call up ground forces in preparation for a land invasion of Gaza.
However, a ceasefire was negotiated, avoiding a land invasion – for now.
In addition to being used to smuggle weapons, the intricate network of hundreds of tunnels in Gaza also is an economic lifeline of basic products to bring essential supplies to the Palestinians there.
Israel and the United States have been relying on Egypt to take action to halt the flow of contraband and weapons that go into Gaza from Sinai. However, regional experts say that the two countries don’t trust Egypt enough to provide sensitive intelligence that could give details on weapons smuggling.
The reason for that is concern that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-backed government of newly elected President Mohamed Morsi, who was head of the Brotherhood, would tip off Hamas.
Hamas is the militant arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
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