N Korean arms fuelled Hamas attack?

Seoul, October 19

Hamas fighters likely fired North Korean weapons during their October 7 assault on Israel, a militant video and weapons seized by Israel show, despite Pyongyang’s denials that it arms the militant group.

South Korean officials, two experts on North Korean arms and an analysis of weapons captured on the battlefield by Israel point toward Hamas using Pyongyang’s F-7 rocket-propelled grenade, a shoulder-fired weapon that fighters typically use against armored vehicles.

The F-7 has been documented in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, said NR 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 among interdicted supplies,” Jenzen-Jones said.

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

Weapons seized by the Israeli military and shown to journalists also included that red stripe and other design elements matching the F-7.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang last week through its state-run news agency dismissed claims that Hamas used its weapons as “a groundless and false rumour” orchestrated by the US.

Hamas propaganda videos and photos previously have shown its fighters with North Korea’s Bulsae guided anti-tank missile. “Many North Korean arms have been provided by Iran to militant groups,” Jenzen-Jones said. — AP

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