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Hamas militants destroy Israeli Panther APC with Kornet missile east of Gaza

According to a video shared on Russian social media on October 28, 2023, the military wing of Hamas, known as Al-Qassam Brigades, destroyed a Panther wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) with a Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). This destruction happened during a night attack on an IDF convoy east of Shejaiya, a neighborhood district of the city of Gaza.
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The Hamas destroyed an Israeli Panther APC with a Kornet anti-tank guided missile during an attack east of Shejaiya, a neighborhood district of the city of Gaza. (Picture source: Russian social media)

Hamas militants began using Kornet anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) around December 2010 in response to what they perceived as a technological advantage held by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) with their armored vehicles during operations in the Gaza Strip. The origin of these Kornet missiles can be traced back to Iran, which initially supplied them to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran and possibly Hezbollah decided to share these advanced weapons with Hamas and other groups in Gaza after their use by Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

To facilitate the transfer of Kornet missiles and other advanced weapons to Gaza, Iran used various smuggling methods, including land, air, and sea routes. The primary smuggling route involved shipping these weapons from Iran to Sudan and then transferring them through the tunnel network connecting Sinai to the Gaza Strip, facilitated by networks of smugglers and traders. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, publicly admitted to supplying Kornet missiles to the Gaza Strip during a speech on November 20, 2017, and expressed pride for this action.

Hamas also used Kornet missiles against civilian targets, as soon as April 7, 2011, when they deliberately targeted a school bus with a Kornet missile near the Sa'ad junction, south of the city of Sderot. Although dozens of students had disembarked from the bus just minutes before the attack, a 16-year-old boy on the bus was fatally wounded by shrapnel, and the bus driver sustained slight injuries.

The Panther is an armored vehicle introduced by the IDF's Technology and Logistics Division in 2019. It is designed to fulfill various operational roles, including troop transport, wounded personnel evacuation, and arrest operations. The Panther replaces older vehicles like the Wolf armored personnel carrier.

The Panther is designed for low-intensity confrontations and security tasks, with a combat compartment carrying 12 to 14 soldiers on padded seats to reduce fatigue during extended missions. It can be configured to evacuate injured personnel, accommodating up to six litters in an ambulance role.

Hamas Kornet Israeli Panther APC 925 002

The Panther is an armored personnel carrier introduced by the Israeli Defense Forces in 2019. (Picture source: Yoav Zitun)

The Panther, with a minimum weight of 10 tons, can reach a top speed of approximately 90 km/h but is typically operated at a lower speed of about 55-60 km/h for safety. The vehicle is also designed to easily maneuver through narrow spaces, making it suitable for urban and complex environments.

The vehicle is equipped with a surveillance system, including perimeter cameras for monitoring activities from various angles, as well as an intercom system for effective communication between the driver and the commanding officer during operations. The Panther also includes an upgraded air-conditioning and heating system, wider windows with a direct and optimal line of sight toward the outside, firing hatches, more effective opening angle slits, and differential stone protection bars, depending on the level of threat.

The vehicle is painted on the outside and inside with special materials for thermal insulation, temperature preservation and flame retardation, beyond the sealing of the passenger compartment, which prevents the fire from entering it, for example, when throwing a Molotov cocktail at the vehicle. The protection panels are designed to absorb light-weapon bullets, such as machine guns, up to 7.62 mm caliber and possibly .50 as well. The ballistic protection can be further increased with additional armor. The Panther is also likely armed with Kornet anti-tank missiles and has a possible fitting of a machine gun bracket.

The vehicle is also equipped with run-flat tires, which enable the Panther to continue moving even when damaged, reducing the risk of immobilization during operations, and the presence of escape hatches ensures that soldiers can quickly exit the vehicle in emergency situations. To meet the IDF's specific operational needs, the Panther has undergone targeted modifications, including the installation of charging sockets to allow easy maintenance and power supply to various equipment,

While the Panther is based on an American platform already in use by 80,000 Oshkosh trucks of the US Army, it integrates IDF-made components to support efficient maintenance and align with the IDF's operational requirements. In 2019, the IDF planned to produce approximately 100 Panther vehicles for deployment across various sectors. The initial goal was to have ten Panther vehicles operational within a year.


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