Israeli military officials believe Palestinian terrorists have traveled to Iran for training with sophisticated Russian-made antitank missiles, the Jerusalem Post reports. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have acquired hundreds of longer range missiles, which can travel more than four kilometers and penetrate many types of armored Israeli vehicles.
Hamas used the first advanced missiles in January 2009, but their use was limited due to a lack of training, the Post reports, citing a senior military source. Since then, Hamas has acquired additional supplies, including transfers of Syrian arms purchased directly from Russia and via black market smuggling, and its operatives have undergone Iranian training.
Israeli forces discovered the full force of the Hamas' new range earlier this year, when a rocket was fired at an Israeli school bus from nearly three kilometers away. The attack killed 16-year-old student Daniel Viflic and injured the bus driver, and showed Hamas ability to hit distant targets despite difficult firing conditions.
Hamas also is believed to have acquired large caches of Libyan weapons, particularly surface-to-air missiles, since the fall of Dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The weapons have been used to enhance Hamas' ability to strike Israeli helicopters and aircraft, one of Israel's primary means of eliminating terrorist firing mortars from Gaza into Israeli town.