As American lawmakers request $225 million in emergency funding to support Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, Hamas militants are reportedly negotiating an arms deal with North Korea to boost their own supplies of weapons and communications equipment.
“Hamas is looking for ways to replenish stocks of missiles because of the large numbers it has fired as Israel in recent weeks,” a security official told the Telegraph’s defense editor Con Coughlin. “North Korea is an obvious place to seek supplies because Pyongyang already has close ties with a number of militant Islamist groups in the Middle East.”
He reported Hamas is working with intermediaries in Lebanon to broker a deal with Pyongyang worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This deal wouldn’t be the first time the group would have support from Pyongyang.
In 2009, United Arab Emirates inspectors seized a freighter carrying North Korean arms bound for Iran, which would likely have been sold to clients such as Hezbollah and Hamas, according to a report in the Guardian.
The ship, the Bahamian-flagged ANL Australia, was carrying containers of military hardware and enough explosives to arm thousands of short-range rockets. It was one of three similar vessels caught that year carrying North Korean or Chinese-made weapons bound for Iran.
“We are proud to defend Hamas and Hezbollah,” Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani told reporters then, according to the Washington Post. “We are not trying to hide it.”
Coughlin wrote in his report Saturday that Hamas has been increasing its rocket arsenal for the past two years and now has a stockpile of more than 10,000 rockets and mortars, some of which are capable of reaching Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and as far as Haifa.