Sources: Iran gave Hamas missile that can hit Tel Aviv
MI chief: Hamas has missile with a range of 60km; Hamas refuses to discuss reports of test-fire.
Iran has supplied Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip a missile capable of striking Tel Aviv, defense sources said on Tuesday.
Military Intelligence Chief General Amos Yadlin told the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee earlier Tuesday that Hamas has recently tested a missile capable of reaching targets at a distance of 60 kilometers.
Hamas has refused to confirm or deny reports of the test.
The missile was fired into the Mediterranean Sea, Yadlin told lawmakers, though he did not say whether the weapon was manufactured in Gaza or was smuggled into the Strip from abroad.
The MI chief said this latest development is indicative of the Hamas regime's growing military capabilities.
Yadlin said Hezbollah, the Shi'ite guerilla group based in southern Lebanon, has also been stockpiling weapons.
"The organization continues to arm itself and it is amassing many weapons by [acquiring them from] Iran via Syria," the MI chief said. "It is accumulating these arms [and maintaining them] south of the Litani River, inside civilian homes, in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 [which brought an end to the Second Lebanon War in 2006]."
The general also reported that Syria continued to play a key role in arming both organizations.
"Syria has turned into the main factory and weapons cache for Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as for Syria itself, with financial aid from Iran," Yadlin said.
"Syria is operating on two parallel tracks - benevolence toward the West, and in its backyard it is becoming a weapons factory for the axis of evil," Yadlin said.
As for Iran, Yadlin warned that an Iranian plant used for uranium enrichment in the city of Qom, whose existence was recently exposed by the West, is geared for military purposes.
"The plant in Qom was not intended for civilian purposes as the Iranians claim," Yadlin said. "The facility contains advanced centrifuges which can be used to expedite the process of uranium enrichment. These are the latest model of centrifuges."
"This past summer was the quietest from a security standpoint that we have had in many years," Yadlin said, citing a combination of Israeli deterrence alongside Arab expectations regarding the Mideast policy of the Obama administration.
Nonetheless, Yadlin noted that Israel's neighbors are focusing on building up their forces.
"Underneath the surface, our enemies, led by Iran, are continuing to gain strength," Yadlin said. "Iran is financing these activities, training forces, and arming Hamas and Hezbollah."
The MI chief said Hamas is currently not interested in confrontation with Israel. Rather, it is devoting its energies to solidifying its rule in the Gaza Strip while continuing its weapons smuggling operations.