Evidence indicates Hamas likely used North Korean weapons in attack on Israel

Hamas North Korean Weapons

Hamas fighters likely used North Korean weapons in their Oct. 7 attack on Israel, video of the militants and weapons confiscated by Israel show, despite Pyongyang’s claims that it does not sell weapons to the organization.

The video was analyzed by two North Korean weapons experts. Along with an Associated Press analysis of captured battlefield weapons and South Korean military intelligence, the video indicates that Hamas used F-7 propelled grenades, a shoulder-fired weapon that fighters often use against vehicles. armored.

The evidence sheds light on the dark world of illicit arms shipments that North Korea, a country under heavy international sanctions, uses to finance its weapons programs.

Grenade launchers fire one projectile at a time and can be quickly reloaded, making them valuable weapons for guerrillas in moving skirmishes with heavy vehicles. The use of F-7s has been documented in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, said NR Jenzen-Jones, a weapons expert and director of the consulting firm Armament Research Services.Self-propelled grenades, believed to be North Korean-made F-7 models, many with a distinctive red line, are seen at an Israeli military base (AP Photo/ Alon Bernstein) Self-propelled grenades, believed to be North Korean-made F-7 models, many with a distinctive red line, are seen at an Israeli military base (AP Photo/ Alon Bernstein)

North Korea has long supported Palestinian militant groups, and North Korean weapons have been documented among prohibited supplies in the past,” Jenzen-Jones told the AP.

Hamas has released images of its training that show fighters with a rocket-propelled grenade weapon with a distinctive red stripe on the warhead and other design aspects that fit the F-7, said Matt Schroeder, a senior researcher at Small. Arms Survey, which wrote a guide to Pyongyang’s light weapons.

“It’s not a surprise to see North Korean weapons with Hamas,” Schroeder said.

The F-7 resembles the more widespread RPG-7 grenade launcher of the Soviet era, with few noticeable differences.

A militant video examined by the AP shows a fighter with an F-7. The shells confiscated by the Israeli military and shown to the press also show the red line and other design elements that match the F-7.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the South Korean General Staff specifically identified the F-7 as one of the North Korean weapons believed to have been used by Hamas in the attack. The Israeli military declined to answer questions from the AP about the origin and manufacturer of those rocket-propelled grenades, saying the ongoing war with Hamas prevented it from responding.

The North Korean delegation to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. However, Pyongyang last week rejected, through its state news agency KCNA, claims that Hamas had used its weapons as a “false and baseless rumor” orchestrated by the United States.

Hamas propaganda videos and photos have shown its fighters with units of the North Korean Bulsae anti-tank guided missile. Jenzen-Jones said he believed, based on images of weapons wielded by Hamas militants, that they also used North Korea’s Type 58 rifle , a variant of the Kalashnikov assault rifle.Weapons collected in Israel after Hamas attack (Reuters) Weapons collected in Israel after Hamas attack (Reuters)

Iran has also based some of its ballistic missiles on North Korean variants.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iranian authorities have long supported Hamas and praised its attack on Israel.

In December 2009, Thai authorities detained a North Korean cargo plane allegedly carrying 35 tons of conventional weapons, including rockets and self-propelled grenades, while it made a refueling stop at a Bangkok airport. Thai authorities then said the weapons were headed to Iran. The United States later said in 2012 that the shipments intercepted by Thailand were destined for Hamas.

The West also suspects North Korea of ​​supplying ammunition, artillery shells and rockets to Russia to support its war in Ukraine. The White House said last week that North Korea recently delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and ammunition to Russia.

(With information from AP)