November 3, 2009
Israel's military intelligence chief Brig. Amos Yadlin revealed Tuesday, Nov. 3, that the Palestinian Hamas had successfully tested a new 60-km range Iranian shore-to-sea missile firing it west from the Gaza coast. When fired north overland the missile could reach Tel Aviv.
Brig. Yadlin's report to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee confirmed DEBKAfile's Oct. 25 disclosure of intensive Iranian efforts to arm Hizballan and Hamas with extended-range missiles and rockets capable of reaching Israel's strategic heartland. He revealed that Iranian arms were reaching Hizballah and Hamas through Syria and, for the first, time via Turkey.
The intelligence chief did not specify the source of the missiles delivered to Hamas or disclose who their instructors were. DEBKAfile's military sources report that the Hizballah on orders from Tehran apparently took charge of smuggling the new missiles to their Palestinian allies and its officers instructed them in their use.
Our military sources identify the new missile in Hamas' arsenal as a C-802 of the Silkworm series (of Chinese origin), of the type Hizballah fired to cripple the Israeli missile ship Hanit on July 15 2006 during the second Lebanon war.
Tehran has since showered thousands of these missiles on Hizballah. They are positioned along the Lebanese Mediterranean in closer formation than almost any coastal defense array in the world.
Hamas' successful test indicates that Iran is intent on building up its Palestinian proxy's capability for breaking the Israeli Mediterranean naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and restricting the freedom of Israeli warships cruising opposite its southern shores.
Silkworms deployed in the Gaza Strip are a menace to Israel's southern naval bases, especially in Ashdod port. They are also precise enough to target land-based strategic facilities like power stations and fuel depots. In 1987, Tehran used an earlier version of the Silkworm to strike Kuwait's oil installations.
On Oct. 25, DEBKAfile also reported that the al Qods external terror branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guards was in the throes of a major effort to smuggle Fajr-5 surface rockets into the Gaza Strip. These rockets whose range is 75 km can also reach Tel Aviv and its southern satellite cities from Gaza. Our military sources report that the huge missiles are transported by sea to Hamas training camps in Sudan in 8-10 segments, smuggled from there north to the Egyptian shores of the Suez Canal, then offloaded in Sinai for covert transportation to the Gaza Strip.
On Oct. 31, our military sources revealed that North Korea had sold Iran and Syria EM52 midget submarines designed to drop small commando raider units on targeted shores and sow mines in enemy harbors.
Tehran is thus immersed in an operation for turning the Mediterranean into another hostile front against Israel in the event of a regional war.
While aware of the Iranian marine noose closing in on Israel, the government led by prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak do not seem to be doing much in the way of preventive action.