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Sunday, November 28, 2004
Hamas developing surface-to-air missiles

Hamas developing surface-to-air missiles
Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, November 30, 2004

GAZA CITY - Hamas said it is developing the first Palestinian anti-aircraft
missile.

Hamas leader Nizar Rayan said the Islamic insurgency movement was developing
surface-to-air missiles in an effort to down Israeli attack helicopters,
unmanned air vehicles and other aircraft that operate over the Gaza Strip.
Rayan deemed the anti-aircraft missile project a Hamas priority.

"Hamas engineers are trying to develop anti-aircraft missiles," Rayan said.
"Their attitude is to confront the Israeli military planes and helicopters.
I pray to God that we will soon see a success in their attempts to develop
these missiles."

Rayan's statement marked the first time that Hamas has acknowledged an
attempt to develop anti-aircraft missiles. Hamas operatives have been the
main targets of Israeli air attacks over the Gaza Strip. In 2004, three
Hamas leaders, including founder Ahmed Yassin, were killed in Israeli air
strikes.

[On Nov. 16, Hamas announced plans to boycott Palestinian Authority
elections in January. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar called the planned
presidential elections illegal, but others said Hamas might participate in
municipal elections.]

Palestinian sources said the Hamas anti-aircraft missile project is based on
expertise and training acquired from Iran and Hizbullah. Hamas has sought to
develop and produce a variant of the Soviet-origin SA-7, deployed by
Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.

In August 2004, Israel's military was alerted to a Hamas attempt to smuggle
anti-aircraft missiles and Katyusha surface-to-surface rockets from Egypt's
Sinai Peninsula. In September, eight Hamas operatives responsible for the
arms smuggling effort were arrested in the Sinai near Rafah.

Rayan said a key target of Hamas surface-to-air missiles would be the
network of Israeli UAVs deployed over the northern Gaza Strip. UAVs played a
major role in locating and targeting Hamas operatives during an October
search-and-destroy mission for Kassam missiles and their operators.

Hamas has also reported the development of an enhanced Kassam-class missile.
Hamas operatives said the insurgency movement would soon launch these
missiles against Israel.

"The new developed rockets would be a surprise for the [Israeli] enemy," a
Hamas operative told a news conference in the Jebalya refugee camp on Oct.
6.

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