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Saturday, October 22, 2005
How Palestinians obtained 100-plus extended-range Kassam missiles

How Palestinians obtained 100-plus extended-range Kassam missiles
Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, October 25, 2005

After a year Palestinian insurgency groups have finally received their first
shipment of improved Kassam-class missiles. During a week of chaos along the
Egyptian-Gaza border, insurgents smuggled scores of enhanced Kassam missiles
able to strike major Israeli cities.

The story reflects incredible negligence by Israel as well as collusion
between Egyptian officials and weapons smugglers. During the week of Sept.
12, as Israel withdrew its military from the 14-kilometer Egypt-Gaza border,
hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad insurgents were sent into the
neighboring Sinai Peninsula. They met with Egyptian weapons smugglers in El
Arish and brought back to the Gaza Strip boxes of components for the
long-range Kassam missiles.

"We're not talking about a few missiles," a Western intelligence source
said. "We're talking about somewhere in the vicinity of at least 100
missiles."

The boxes contained advanced fuzes, warhead mechanisms and engine parts to
increase the Kassam missile to about 20 kilometers. As a result,
Palestinians can rain missiles on Ashkelon, which houses a naval base,
civilian port and power stations.

Why did Israel withdraw its military before Egypt deployed its new force of
750 police commandos? Military officers mumble that the Israeli troops were
in danger of Palestinian attack. But officials said Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon wanted to complete the withdrawal in time for his trip to the United
Nations, where he met a range of international leaders.

For its part, Egypt withheld confirmation of the Kassam shipments for weeks
until the issue was raised by both Israel and the United States.

Israel even brought aerial photographs of the smugglers and communications
intercepts. Later, Egypt agreed that enhanced Kassam missiles were
transported into the Gaza Strip.

The flow of Kassams and weapons continues from Egypt to the Gaza Strip. The
Palestinian Authority has received a cut of the weapons in exchange for
their delivery to such insurgency groups as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

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