Evidence shows Hamas likely used some North Korean weapons in assault on Israel

Suspected North Korean-made F-7 rocket-propelled grenades, many with a distinctive red stripe on their warhead, are seen at an Israeli military base in southern Israel, October 15, 2023. Hamas terrorists likely used North Korean-manufactured rocket-propelled grenades during their unprecedented assault on Israel that killed over 1,400 people and saw scores taken hostage, despite Pyongyang denying its weapons arm the terror group. (Alon Bernstein/AP)
Suspected North Korean-made F-7 rocket-propelled grenades, many with a distinctive red stripe on their warhead, are seen at an Israeli military base in southern Israel, October 15, 2023. Hamas terrorists likely used North Korean-manufactured rocket-propelled grenades during their unprecedented assault on Israel that killed over 1,400 people and saw scores taken hostage, despite Pyongyang denying its weapons arm the terror group. (Alon Bernstein/AP)

Hamas gunmen likely fired North Korean weapons during their Oct. 7 assault on Israel, a terrorist video and weapons seized by Israel show, despite Pyongyang’s denials that it sells arms to the group.

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

The evidence shines a light on the murky world of the illicit arms shipments that sanctions-battered North Korea uses as a way to fund its arms programs.

Rocket-propelled grenade launchers fire a single warhead and can be quickly reloaded, making them valuable weapons for guerrilla forces in running skirmishes with heavy vehicles. The F-7 has been documented in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, says N.R. Jenzen-Jones, a weapons expert who works as the director of the consultancy Armament Research Services.

“North Korea has long supported Palestinian militant groups, and North Korean arms have previously been documented amongst interdicted supplies,” Jenzen-Jones tells The Associated Press.

Hamas has published images of their training that show fighters with a weapon with a rocket-propelled grenade with a distinctive red stripe across its warhead, and other design elements matching the F-7, says Matt Schroeder, a senior researcher with Small Arms Survey who wrote a guide to Pyongyang’s light weapons.

“It is not a surprise to see North Korean weapons with Hamas,” Schroeder says.

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