Hamas begins firing antitank missiles from the West Bank

Exclusive to debkafile‘s military sources: The IDF on Wednesday, Nov. 1, refuted an announcement by the Salah a-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, that on Wednesday morning it had fired a short-range Nasser 1 rocket at the settlement of Migdalim, east of Ariel in Samaria. However, senior officers in Central Command told debkafile‘s military sources that the Palestinians, for the first time, fired an antitank missile at an Israeli settlement, adding that it had been smuggled into the West Bank from the Gaza Strip or the Sinai Peninsula.
According to the officers, Hamas has devoted tremendous resources to opening a second front by firing short-range missiles at Israeli targets from the West Bank, and has already succeeded in stockpiling a “not insignificant” number of such missiles. “The first instance of the firing of such a missile took place early Wednesday morning at 4 a.m., and now it will escalate,” one officer said.
Another officer said: “What we said was that we didn’t find the missile fragments in the field. However, just because we didn’t find them doesn’t mean we don’t know what the Palestinians are up to. The missile was definitely fired, and without any doubt this heralds the opening of a new period of warfare in the West Bank and within the Green Line.”
debkafile‘s military and intelligence sources report that senior IDF officers are saying that while the political echelon and military brass are still deliberating how to halt or lessen the influx of weapons through Palestinian-made smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor and the Egypt-Gaza border, Hamas is concentrating most of its efforts on bringing its assorted weaponry from Gaza to the West Bank. Hamas sees this as a priority, even more than bringing advanced weaponry into Gaza.
Over the past few weeks, the IDF says, Hamas has succeeded in opening another smuggling route from the Sinai Peninsula to the Arava near Eilat. From there the missiles cross the Jordan River into Jordan, then are snuck into the West Bank through the Dead Sea area by Beduin smuggling networks.
Hamas wants to establish in the West Bank and adjoining areas on the other side of the Green Line a zone of live fire similar to what exists along the Gaza Strip security fence. [See debkafile‘s article from Nov. 1 “The Russian-made antitank missile Metis-M9 is returning to the battle field – this time to the Gaza Strip”]
A senior officer in Central Command said: “Now, after the first firing [of a missile] at Migdalim, the firing of antitank missiles at settlements and Israeli vehicles will escalate in Judea and Samaria. It is only a question of a short time before areas inside the Green Line become targets.”

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