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Israeli Army Uncovers Major Hamas Drone and Missile Facility in Northern Gaza's Residential Area

On November 9, 2023, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced the discovery of a key Hamas installation in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, a building situated in the densely populated Shih Radwan neighborhood, which is in close proximity to schools in northern Gaza, was being used by Hamas for the production and storage of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and anti-aircraft missiles.
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Israeli soldiers expose cache of Hamas Drones in Gaza Neighborhood. (Picture source IDF)

The IDF's (Israel Defense Forces) operations in Gaza have been multifaceted, involving coordinated efforts from air, land, and sea units, with the stated aim of dismantling the capabilities of Hamas, which Israel and several other countries designate as a terrorist organization. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the IDF Spokesperson, emphasized the intensity of the ongoing military campaign. He detailed that the Israeli Air Force, Navy, Intelligence Directorate, and the Israel Security Agency (ISA), supported by ground forces operating within Gaza City, are exerting substantial pressure on Hamas.

The revelation of the Hamas facility underscores the complex nature of the IDF's mission in Gaza, given its location within a civilian area. The IDF's discovery is likely to fuel further debate on the methods employed by both sides in the conflict, particularly concerning the use of civilian areas for military purposes.

Drones are new weapons used by terrorist groups worldwide to carry out suicide missions or to drop ammunition on combat vehicles or troops deployed on the battlefield. Hamas, in collaboration with Iran, has made significant efforts to perfect drones launched from Gaza. Drones can fly low to avoid radar detection, navigate complex routes to a target, and can be used in a swarm-like fashion with other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and cruise missiles to overwhelm defenses and strike strategic targets.

Drones also possess offensive capabilities. For asymmetrical armies, an easier path to precision-guided munitions is through the use of suicide drones, also known as loitering munitions. Such weapons would enable Hamas to accurately target military bases, defense installations, power stations, naval vessels, troop concentrations, and other critical infrastructure.

In October 2023, the Al-Qassam Brigades revealed for the first time that they had brought into service a locally manufactured air defense system called “Mutabar 1,” which was used to confront Israeli aircraft during the ongoing escalation. The Mutabar-1 employs rockets or missiles with an undisclosed guidance system to engage targets.

The missile launch facility of the Mutabar-1 air defense system is designed with a single launcher to minimize its weight and to allow for the use of cheaper and more widely available components. This launch platform can rotate 360 degrees around its axis and can adjust its launch angle from 20 to 70 degrees.

In mid-September 2013, the Al-Qassam Brigades disclosed that their forces in Gaza had acquired SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles, which were publicly displayed at a military parade.

The SA-7 Grail, known in the Soviet military as the Strela-2, is a man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) that was introduced into service in the late 1960s. It is a shoulder-fired missile system designed to engage low-flying aircraft with a high-explosive warhead. The SA-7 is relatively simple to operate and was widely distributed to various military forces around the world, becoming one of the most proliferated air defense weapons of its kind.

In terms of combat capabilities, the SA-7 is effective against targets flying at altitudes up to 1,500 meters and at speeds of up to 310 miles per hour. Its passive infrared homing guidance system locks onto the heat signatures from aircraft engines, which allows the operator to fire and forget, as the missile homes in on the target without further guidance. However, its effectiveness is limited against high-altitude or fast-moving aircraft, and it is susceptible to countermeasures such as flares and infrared jammers.

Hamas Israel War 2023

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