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Posted: 9/24/2004 10:19:39 AM EST
Short version: Iran via Hizbollah and Hamas can arm and masse arms and troops on Isreali territory and may have already started. Its just a few missiles... who's going to notice?


Iranian Control of Hamas Opens Gaza Strip to Iranian Surface Missiles

www.debka.com/article.php?aid=907

DEBKAfile Exclusive Military Report

September 20, 2004, 11:42 AM (GMT+02:00)



Luna-2 on which Iran`s Zelzal-2 is based


The missile in the photo with this article is the Luna-2 short-range
ground-to-ground missile, known to NATO from Soviet times as FROG-7,
which Iran has developed as its Zelzal-2/Mushak-200. In the hands of
Iran's Lebanon-based Revolutionary Guards, it has extended the
Iranian-Hizballah's missile range due south to Israel's coastal cities
of Haifa, Hadera and Netanya. The missile, its launchers and
infrastructure are well-hidden in special storehouses in the port town
of Sidon in the care of Revolutionary Guards specialist teams. A
Lebanese urban center was chosen for their hiding places to reduce the
weapon's vulnerability to an Israeli air strike. With Tehran already
issuing operational orders to the Palestinian Hamas fundamentalist
terrorist group, it is only a question of time before these missiles
are transferred to the Gaza Strip, so bringing southern Israel, Tel
Aviv and the cities in between, such as Rehovot, Rishon Lezion and
Ashdod, within striking range.

This looming menace finally drove Shin Beit Director Avi Dichter and
IDF chiefs this week to openly challenge prime minister Ariel Sharon's
plans for the removal of Israeli settlements and military units from
the Gaza Strip in the framework of his disengagement blueprint.

According to DEBKAfile's military sources, Zelzal-2/Mushak-200 is 8.3
meters long with an estimated range of between 100 and 400 km –
effective most probably at 200 km. It is armed with a 600 kg warhead.
Iran is known to have developed chemical and biological payloads but
not to have located them in Lebanon. On the other hand, intelligence
sources estimate that Syria has perfected the right chemical warheads
for attachment to the Zelzal missiles deployed in Lebanon and they can
be fitted within hours. These weapons may be delivered through the
Palestinian gunrunning routes from Sinai into the Gaza Strip whenever
the rulers of Iran and Syria so decide.

Israeli security chiefs fear that the Hizballah, aka Iran, is already
shipping 240mm Katyusha and Iranian Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets across
the Mediterranean to northern Sinai. Egyptian security authorities,
who are similarly concerned by the heavy weaponry Iran is landing on
their territory, are known to have seized one delivery of Katyusha
220mm upgraded to 240 mm before it was smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
But there is no knowing how much was not intercepted before reaching
destination.

In readiness for their post-disengagement schemes, Tehran and Damascus
have ordered Hamas to veto any Egyptian or other programs for securing
the Gaza Strip after Israel's evacuation. The military and defense
chiefs in both Israel and Egypt have concluded that the implementation
of against Sharon's evacuation plan will open the door wide to Gaza's
transformation into a second South Lebanon in the heart of Israel.

Sunday, September 19, DEBKAfile discussed the controversy over a more
immediate threat: Evacuation under fire.

The simmering argument between Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and
Israel's military chiefs over the feasibility of his evacuation plan
came to a head at the Israeli cabinet meeting Sunday, September 19.
Sharon, who failed to offer the traditional New Years' greetings to
the nation this year, finally admitted that which the military,
security and police chiefs – as well as DEBKAfile - have been saying
for months: the unilateral evacuation of some 9,000 Israelis living in
the Gaza Strip cannot be accomplished, if at all, without a
substantial cost in military and civilian lives. Conditions on the
ground, say these authorities, make disengagement unfeasible.

But the conclusion they elicited from the prime minister was
unexpected: I am sticking to my disengagement guns and not budging one
whit from my timetable, he told the ministers and army chiefs: it is
up to the military to make it possible; they had better start
preparing for evacuation under enemy fire.

As reported previously by DEBKAfile, the Palestinians are in the midst
of massive preparations, including training special operations units
and procurement of fresh supplies of upgraded weapons, for hammering
the evacuating forces and Gush Katif evacuees and making the operation
a bloodbath. Egypt has virtually retired from its post-disengagement
security role in the Gaza Strip and is only half-heartedly blocking
Palestinian arms supplies through Sinai.

Until now, Sharon and defense minister Shaul Mofaz said that if the
evacuation cannot be accomplished without an unacceptable level of
bloodshed, then it will not be implemented at all. But now, Sharon
appears determined to go forward regardless.

With the onus of a predictable disaster on their heads, Israel's
military and security chiefs explain: If this plan goes ahead, it will
not be disengagement, but total war, a tornado of terrorist attacks,
gunfire and missiles blasting the Gaza Strip, the western and southern
Negev and Gush Katif. Instead of pulling back, the army will be forced
to drive back into the large sections of the Gaza Strip controlled by
Palestinians in order to subdue their war offensive. Many lives will
be lost in these maneuvers.

Addressing the same cabinet meeting, Shin Beit director Avi Dichter
limited his warning to a single issue: If Israel pulls out of the
Philadelphi corridor on the Gaza Strip-Egyptian border it will open
the door to an avalanche of advanced weapons the like of which was
prevented from reaching the Palestinians in all four years of their
warfare against Israel.

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