Throughout Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s career, he has often warned of the potential danger posed to Israeli security by an adjacent Palestinian state. He has specifically warned that allowing the Palestinians to have such a state could give terrorists an opportunity to arm themselves with U.S.-made Stinger missiles and shoot down incoming civilian or military aircraft.
But reports from earlier this week show his fears have been realized. As he was being sworn in as prime minister of Israel, the Middle East Newsline confirmed reports that Hamas terrorists have acquired the U.S.-made handheld anti-aircraft missiles. These four Stinger systems were acquired from smugglers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 2008 and deployed in the 22-day war against Israel in January.
Hamas military deployed the Stingers against Israeli Air Force Apache attack helicopters during strike missions in the northern Gaza Strip.
A Hamas source disclosed that gunners deployed Stinger along with heavy machine guns in attacks on Israeli helicopters during the war in the Gaza Strip. One Stinger surface-to-air missile was launched, but the missile veered off course and instead struck a Hamas gunner squad.
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Meanwhile, Hamas has been ordering the Russian-origin SA-16, or Igla-1, surface-to-air missile system, with a range of three miles.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com