After tunnel find, Hamas threatens to strike Tel Aviv, Haifa
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After tunnel find, Hamas threatens to strike Tel Aviv, Haifa

New video touts long-range missiles; 'Qassam Brigades will shake you' in major Israeli cities, terror group says

Raoul Wootliff covers politics, corruption and crime for The Times of Israel.

The military wing of Hamas on Monday threatened in a new video to attack major Israeli cities using long-range missiles, hours after the Israeli army announced it had discovered and “neutralized” a cross-border tunnel from the Gaza Strip.

A video clip by the Gaza-based organization, titled “The Rantisi Rocket on Haifa” was posted to the YouTube page of the Palestinian news site Palestinian Information Center (PIC) and shows Hamas terrorists preparing missile attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa.

In the slickly produced clip, which includes camera shots from a drone, masked men read a paper describing the “characteristics of the rocket” which states, “its basic mission: to strike the Zionist enemy.”

“Qassam Brigades will shake you in Haifa, in Tel Aviv,” the voice-over says as a masked Hamas terrorist runs his finger across a map of Israel.

A group of uniformed men are then seen preparing a missile launcher to be fired at Israeli cities.

The R-160 is named for Abdel Aziz Ali Abdul Majid al-Rantisi, the co-founder of Hamas who was killed in a 2004 airstrike by the Israeli air force. Sunday was the 12th anniversary of his assassination.

The advanced Syrian missile is also known as the M-302, has a range of up to 160 kilometers (100 miles) and can carry up to 170 kilograms (375 lbs).

During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas considerably increased its rocket range with the R-160, as well as with the J-80 projectile, which has an 80-kilometer range.

At the time, Hamas’s armed wing Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam reported on its website firing nine R-160s and 19 J-80s. The Islamic Jihad terror group has reported firing two missiles with a 100-kilometer (62 mile) range and 38 missiles with a range of 70 kilometers.

Most of Hamas’s weapons were smuggled in from Egypt via tunnels running underground from the Sinai Peninsula. Since Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Hamas has invested much of its resources in developing smuggling networks in Sinai and importing weapons from Libya, Sudan and Iran, according to the Shin Bet security service.

In March 2014, the IDF intercepted the Klos-C, an arms ship originating in Iran and headed for Sudan, its cargo intended for Gaza. The ship was carrying several dozen M-302 missiles.

Some of the 40 rockets put on display by the IDF along the docks of the southern port of Eilat, Monday, March 10, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)
Some of the 40 rockets put on display by the IDF along the docks of the southern port of Eilat, Monday, March 10, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)

The threatening video was released hours after the Israel Defense Forces announced Monday that it had “neutralized” a concrete-lined tunnel it found last week adjacent to the southern Gaza Strip, but would not elaborate on whether it was destroyed or merely sealed off.

Its exact location is still being kept under wraps by the military censor, though it does not appear that the tunnel led directly into Holit or Sufa, the Israeli communities closest to the southern Gaza Strip.

The IDF has identified the Hamas terror organization as the group behind the tunnel’s construction and maintains it was dug “in order to carry out attacks against civilians,” a spokesperson said, though he would not discuss the specific intelligence that led to that finding.

A tunnel reaching from Gaza into Israel, seen in a photo released by the IDF on April 18, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
A tunnel reaching from Gaza into Israel, seen in a photo released by the IDF on April 18, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

On Thursday, a senior IDF officer told reporters that Hamas has been recruiting fighters and collecting materiel at a “surprisingly” quick pace, though the group was not yet prepared for another conflict with Israel.

However, he declared the terrorist organization would not again drag Israel into a war, and insisted any future conflict would be one undertaken at the initiative of the Jewish state.

According to the officer’s assessment, Hamas now has some 5,000 fighters in its special forces and has also filled out its middle and upper ranks with 25 battalion and brigade commanders.

Times of Israel staff, Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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