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Hamas Continues to Fire Rockets into Israel, Operate Smuggling Tunnels

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Iran is the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism and a chief sponsor of Palestinian terrorism. The Islamic Republic provides approximately $20 million - $30 million to Hamas annually and also trains Hamas operatives in Iran and Syria. [13] Approximately 950 Hamas terrorists have been trained in building rockets and bombs, tactical warfare, weapons operation and sniper tactics by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a special division of Iran’s armed forces. [14] Tehran also provides almost $200 million a year to Hezbollah. [15]

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said on Feb. 19 Iran had produced 2,227 pounds (1,010 kg) of low-enriched uranium, enough to make a nuclear weapon with further enrichment. [16] Iranian officials stated on Feb. 24 that they plan to test its nuclear plant in Bushehr on Feb. 25. [17]

Smuggling Tunnels and other Terrorist Activity

On Feb. 15, Israel’s Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said Hamas’s efforts to smuggle weapons into Gaza had started again. “We see an effort exerted by Hamas to rebuild its tunnels, and we have spotted several incidents of weapon smuggling since the ceasefire began,” Dichter said. Israel has carried out several bombing sorties against the smuggling tunnels since the end of Operation Cast Lead. [18]

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Four Palestinians were killed when a smuggling tunnel collapsed on top of them on Feb. 22. [19]

In addition to smuggling, Palestinian terrorists dig tunnels along the Israel-Gaza border with the intention of carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis, as in the case of the ambush near the Kerem Shalom crossing in June 2006 that resulted in the abduction of Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

Palestinian terrorists also plant improvised explosive devices (IED) along border areas to attack Israelis. On Feb. 14, terrorists detonated an IED against IDF soldiers patrolling the Israeli side of the Gaza border. Two other IEDs were discovered by the IDF along the border, before they could be detonated. [20] On Jan. 27, an IED was detonated near an IDF patrol moving along the Israeli side of the border, killing a soldier and seriously wounding an officer. [21]

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Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

Since Israel’s unilateral ceasefire that ended Operation Cast Lead on Jan. 18, Israel facilitated the delivery of 112,991 tons of aid and 2.6 million gallons (10 million liters) of fuel into the Gaza Strip. [22]

During IDF Operation Cast Lead, Dec. 27 - Jan. 18, Israel delivered 1,365 truckloads of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including 33,580 tons of supplies such as food, medication, medical supplies, blood units and donations by various governments and blood units. It also delivered 440,000 gallons (1.7 million liters) of fuel. [23]

However, not all of the humanitarian aid that has entered Gaza has been used to help Palestinian civilians. A recent report with photographic evidence shows that Hamas made improvised grenades from medicine bottles that were discovered by IDF forces in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. The medicine bottles were delivered to Gaza in the humanitarian convoys that Israel transfers into Gaza. [24]

Also, the United Nations accused Hamas of stealing 3,500 blankets and 4,000 food packages intended for distribution to 500 Palestinian families from a UN warehouse in Gaza. [25]
Footnotes:

[1] “News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
January 27 – February 3, 2009,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,
click here
“News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, February 3-9, 2009,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,
click here

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[2] Information relayed to The Israel Project by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Feb. 19, 2009

[3] Ben-David, Calev, “Iranian-made rockets put 500,000 Israelis in range of Hamas,” Bloomberg.com, Jan.14, 2009,
click here

[4] Einav, Hagai, “Katyusha hits Galilee community; 3 lightly hurt,” YnetNews, Feb. 21, 2009,
click here

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The Israel Project (TIP) an international non-profit organization, provides journalists and leaders accurate information about the Middle East. TIP is not related to any government or government agency.
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