The latest Israel-Hamas clash has seen the use of weapons ranging from rockets, ATGMs and kamikaze drones to air defense systems and fighter jets.
The conflict started when Israeli authorities allegedly started evicting Palestinian people from Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem. After this, a clash broke out between the Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque.
The conflict further escalated when Hamas and the Islamic Jihad fired over 1500 rockets towards Israel between May 10 and 12, according to the Israel Defense Forces, hitting homes and a school, killing six Israeli civilians, and injuring 70.
Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza. Gaza officials said at least 30 Palestinians were killed, including 10 children, and 203 were wounded. The latest figures have more than doubled by now.
Militarily, Israel is the strongest state in the region having some of the most advanced weapons, besides the weapons of mass destruction, in its arsenal. The Israeli Air Force claims its airstrikes were limited to attacking Hamas-owned infrastructure and terror hideouts only.
Weapons Used By Hamas
Hamas was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Initially, it was nonconfrontational toward Israel and but hostile toward the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The 1988 Hamas Charter says the group was founded to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
Overview of the various rocket designs used by Hamas' Qassam Brigades. pic.twitter.com/pxLOXoBTlE
— Fabian Hinz (@fab_hinz) May 12, 2021
It has since then resorted to many violent and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians due to its animosity towards Jews, and has released many propaganda videos asking its followers to kill “Zionists”.
The rockets used in the ongoing conflict are mainly locally produced (with foreign assistance) ones with a maximum range from 12 km to 120 km. According to military experts, most of these rockets are A-120, fed into locally-made launchers with 8 tubes each.
The S-40 rockets (with a 40-km range), also launched via 8-tube launchers, were used. These rockets are stored in underground silos, sunk into the sand to hide them from Israeli reconnaissance aircraft. They are taken out of the silos, put into launcher tubes, and fired.
Hamas also uses MLRS installed on Toyota pick-up trucks and individual launching rails in the traditional low-cost style. Generally, these launchers look much ‘less neat’ than shown in propaganda photos and videos.
#Palestine / #Gaza: Al-Qassam Brigades claimed using a new missile called "A120" to attack #Israel.
AQB released a video and several photos to show some of the A120 missiles. Video also features "S-40" missiles as well. pic.twitter.com/cX8jDry2UY
— War Noir (@war_noir) May 11, 2021
Hamas also uses various Soviet-era BM-21 Grad rockets, popular in the international market. Chinese rockets are also used.
Apart from rockets, Hamas has used Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) against IDF and Israeli civilian vehicles.
#UPDATE: Vehicle hit by ATGM fire on Israel-Gaza border area pic.twitter.com/rmu3kWlfJR
— ELINT News (@ELINTNews) May 10, 2021
Hamas operates various Russian-made ATGMs such as Konkurs, Kornet, Malyutka (Sagger), North Korean Bulsae-2 and European MILAN, according to information from independent sources. The Eurasian Times could not verify the authenticity of these claims.
Hamas is also known for its extensive use of mortars; it also possesses anti-aircraft missiles.
In addition, the IDF has reported the use of Kamikaze UAVs by Hamas from Gaza.
OPERATIONAL FOOTAGE: This is the moment we targeted a terrorist squad preparing to launch an explosive UAV from Gaza into Israel. pic.twitter.com/6adNZ5poRd
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 12, 2021
Among the weapons used by IDF in this conflict, the Iron Dome air defense system stood out for its spectacular performance, as reported by The EurAsian Times.
During the retaliatory airstrikes under its ‘Guardian of the Walls’ operation, the Israeli Air Force has been targeting Hamas settlements and weapon depots in a bid to take out key leaders. On May 12, IAF destroyed dozens of police and security installations along the Gaza Strip.
IAF operates different types of attack aircraft including the recently acquired fifth-generation F-35 Lightning-II. Israel was the first country to deploy F-35s in combat roles in the Middle East. The possibility of their use in the ongoing conflict can’t be ruled out although there is no official confirmation on the same.
Raw Aerial Footage:
This is the moment that the IDF & Israel Security Agency carried out a targeted strike against Islamic Jihad commander, Samah Abed al-Mamluk & other senior members of his unit.
They were among those responsible for hundreds of rockets fired at Israelis. pic.twitter.com/3DLj2UVdCm
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 11, 2021
IDF has released many videos and information about airstrikes against Hamas targets too.
The service has been using its F-15s and F-16s for many years to bomb targets in Gaza and surrounding hostile regions, taking part in missions such as the Operation Wooden Leg, Operation Grapes of Wrath, 2006 Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Protective Edge.