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In a region marked by intricate geopolitics and enduring conflicts, the Gaza Strip remains at the heart of an ongoing struggle. With its unique geographical and political challenges, it serves as a focal point for arms smuggling and violent escalations. This article delves into the complex dynamics that have shaped the recent conflict involving Hamas, Israel, and the consequences of a disoriented terror attack on Israel.
Unraveling the Geopolitical Map:
The Gaza Strip, a narrow piece of land located along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, finds itself enclosed by Israel on two fronts and shares its southern border with Egypt. Its western boundary is defined by the Mediterranean Sea, where the Israeli Navy enforces strict restrictions, allowing the movement of people up to a mere 12 nautical miles.
Arms Smuggling Challenges:
Arms smuggling into Gaza is a concerning issue, as illicit weapons are regularly delivered via the Mediterranean shore, complicating regional security. Despite vigilant maritime control by the Israeli Navy, determined arms suppliers have managed to transport weapons to groups like Hamas. Tunnels, serving as alternative routes, are also exploited for weapon shipments.
The Role of Tunnels:
Gaza’s southern border with Egypt has become a hotspot for arms trafficking. A network of tunnels is ingeniously constructed to facilitate the movement of weapons. Among the arsenal are Iranian-built Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets, alongside the M-302 rocket.
Fajr-3: This Iranian-manufactured unguided surface-to-surface artillery rocket boasts a range of 43 km and is notably found in the stockpiles of Hezbollah, a group closely aligned with Iran and Syria.
Fajr-5: With an extended range of 75 km and a formidable 90 kg high explosive warhead, it poses a significant threat.
M-302 (Khaibar-1): Another Iranian creation, this long-range unguided rocket is employed by Hamas, reportedly supplied by Hezbollah.
Rockets and Conflict Escalation:
The Gaza conflict’s recent wave witnessed over 5,000 rockets fired into Israel. Hamas has continuously enhanced its rocket technology, extending their range and effectiveness. Weapons allegedly supplied by Iran have been instrumental in overwhelming Israel’s advanced Iron Dome air defense system.
Iran’s Involvement and Denials:
Iran has expressed support for Hamas’ Operation Al-Aqsa Flood but denies direct involvement in the conflict, rejecting Israel’s claims of funding the operation. Nonetheless, the U.S. State Department has indicated that Hamas receives training, funding, and weapons from Iran, with approximately 70 percent of its funding originating from the Iranian regime.
U.S. Weapons in the Mix:
There are also reports of U.S.-built weapons being used by Hamas, originating from Afghanistan via the Taliban. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 left a stockpile of weaponry, which the Taliban subsequently acquired. The Gaza Strip’s volatile landscape, shaped by arms smuggling, geopolitical intricacies, and internal power struggles, continues to be a flashpoint for conflict. The recent attack by Hamas, while seemingly disoriented, sheds light on the complexities at play, demonstrating the extent of brainwashing and the readiness to sacrifice lives in pursuit of their ideology. The consequences of such actions reverberate throughout the region, emphasizing the urgent need for a sustainable resolution to this enduring conflict.