JERUSALEM – Israel Security Agency director Yuval Diskin said Hamas as well as the Islamic Jihad have deployed 5,000 missiles and rockets in Gaza.

Mr. Diskin said the weapons have a range of up to 25 miles.

“They continue to arm themselves both through production and smuggling,” Diskin said.

In a briefing to the Israel Knesset Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on June 15, Mr. Diskin said that Hamas and other Palestinian forces have acquired long-range rockets. Diskin said these rockets were capable of reaching Tel Aviv. “Hamas and Islamic Jihad have over 5,000 rockets with ranges of up to 40 kilometers, most of them home-made,” Mr. Diskin said. “Of those rockets, 4,000 belong to Hamas. They also have dozens of more technologically-advanced models that have been smuggled into Gaza Strip.”

Mr. Diskin, in remarks released by the Knesset committee, did not identify the long-range rockets acquired by Hamas. Security sources said the rockets included the Fajr-5, with a range of more than 80 kilometers. The intelligence chief warned that Hamas sought to acquire medium- and long-range rockets from Iran. He said missile components were being smuggled from Egypt via the vast tunnel network to the Gaza Strip. “Lifting the naval blockade [from the Gaza Strip] would constitute a very dangerous development,” Mr. Diskin, responding to the latest Western campaign, said. “A port in Gaza would be a major security breach, despite the option of inspecting vessels prior to their arrival.”

Hamas was also said to been working with Islamic insurgents in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Mr. Diskin identified the insurgents as Al Qaida and those aligned with the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah. “Sinai attracts Al Qaida [insurgents] who come from Iraq through Jordan,” Diskin said. “Terror facilitators from Gaza also make their way [to Sinai], as are those who help Hezbollah. The Sinai Peninsula is a vast area and it is very difficult to control who enters it.”

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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