How did Russian elite forces' weapons end up in Hamas' hands? Expert explains the 'Russian Trace' in the Saturday attack

09.10.2023 17:35
Heidi Saar

On October 7th, a significant rocket attack was launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel and took dozens of hostages. As of the morning of October 9th, at least 700 Israeli citizens have been killed, and over 2,000 have been wounded.

From the outset of the attack, some experts speculated that Russia might be involved, aiming to divert attention from its activities in Ukraine. Forte interviewed Ukrainian military expert Oleksandr Kovalenko to explore the signs pointing to Russia's involvement. 

Currently, it's evident that pro-Russian forces are propagating a narrative in Israel through their lobbyists. This narrative suggests that the tragic events of October 7th were made possible due to the substantial military aid provided by the United States to Ukraine. In reality, there is no direct link between the Hamas attack and the aid to Ukraine. Nevertheless, Russian propaganda is actively promoting this narrative to influence public opinion in Israel. They are leveraging pro-Russian lobbyists operating within political circles, who also have their media resources in Israel. Russia's aim is to divert attention away from other parties involved, notably not just Hamas, as Hamas is primarily a tool in this context.

Who supports Hamas? Certainly Iran, but possibly Russia as well.

First and foremost, it's worth noting that the Hamas attack shares many tactical similarities with Russia's actions in Ukraine. Particularly, the skillful use of drones in this attack stands out. Not every drone operator can accurately target an RPG-7 rocket with tandem warheads at the vulnerable areas of a Merkava tank. This requires a significant amount of experience and specific knowledge of tank weaknesses. Russians possess this skill due to their experience in the Ukraine conflict.
There are several more questions to consider. Why was Hamas equipped with AK-103 rifles, which are typically intended for export and aren't even widely used by elite Russian military units? In February-March 2022, such rifles were exclusive to elite Russian airborne units that entered Ukraine for a victory parade in Kyiv. After leaving Kyiv, these rifles disappeared from the possession of Russian airborne units, and it's known that they are available in very limited quantities.

When we look at the strong cyberattacks that have targeted Israel, it's essential to acknowledge that the world's most advanced hacking armies are currently from China and Russia.

In this field, Iran isn't as capable. It's no secret that Iran provided Hamas with Ababil-2 drones converted for kamikaze attacks, but they couldn't offer much more assistance to Hamas. Consequently, Russia may be spreading false claims that Ukraine might have assisted Hamas, even supplying weapons intended for Ukraine, which found their way to Hamas through the black market. These claims are not only confined to Russian propaganda channels; they are also being promoted by pro-Russian individuals in the West.
However, the positive aspect of this situation is that it's compelling Israel to adopt a more pragmatic and realistic policy. Over the past 30 years, Israel has pursued a rather ambiguous and ineffective policy, making decisions that have complicated the situation. Israel's Arab neighbors perceived this as a sign of weakness. Israel is currently surrounded by enemies and must face the reality that it cannot seek peace with those who hide knives behind their backs. When you are preparing for an attack, you must strike first. Israel successfully did this in the 1960s and 1970s, earning widespread recognition for its military capabilities. On October 7th, Israel was completely unprepared for the attack. The adversaries lacked heavy weaponry, but they had carefully planned this strike, and it yielded success.

Despite this, I am confident that the Israeli military will recover from this shock and conduct a cleansing operation in the Gaza Strip.

Their objective will be to eliminate as many Hamas forces and leaders as possible. Hamas achieved what they aimed for: they wanted to demonstrate that the Israeli army is weak. Now, Israel must demonstrate its ability to defend its borders and its right to exist.

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