October 18, 2023 13:38
Hamas militants may have been armed by North Korea and have other military links to the renegade country, the Joint Chiefs of Staff here said Tuesday.
The JCS is analyzing Hamas' surprise incursion into Israel on Oct. 7, a senior officer told reporters. "There's a possibility that North Korea could use similar tactics to attack South Korea," he added.
"Hamas' F-7 rocket launcher that was reportedly used in the attack has the same name that North Korea uses when it exports its RPG-7 anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher," the JCS said.
Artillery shells with the marking "Bang-122" have been found recently in the Gaza Strip held by Hamas and along Israel's northern border near an area held by Lebanon's pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants and are presumed to be made in North Korea.
"It has repeatedly been found that the North is exporting a wide variety of weapons to countries and militant groups in the Middle East," the JCS officer added.
Analysis also shows that Hamas' tactics are very similar to those used by North Korea. Hamas incapacitated Israel's "Iron Dome" air defense system with a massive number of rockets in the early morning of a holiday and made the incursion after using paragliders and small armed drones to destroy various surveillance, communication and fire control systems on top of the separation walls around Gaza.
This resembles the "asymmetrical" attack patterns North Korea would use in a war here, according to the JCS.
The North stepped up training using paragliders in the mid-2010s to overcome difficulties in infiltration on the ground as South Korea installed an automated surveillance system along the border.
Learning a lesson from the failure of Israel's early warning system, the JCS will combine South Korean and U.S. surveillance assets to detect any unusual military movements in the North.
The JCS also wants to develop a "low-altitude missile defense system," a South Korean version of the Iron Dome, by 2026.
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