Hamas recycling unexploded Israeli bombs in Gaza: report

Hamas recycling unexploded Israeli bombs in Gaza: report
Israeli munitions, including unexploded bombs and stolen arms, are now being used by Hamas in Gaza.
2 min read
28 January, 2024
Hamas has repurposed unexploded Israeli weapons going back over a decade into rockets and missiles [Getty]

Israeli defence and intelligence agencies have determined that a large portion of the armaments used by Hamas during the war on Gaza are actually sourced from the Israeli military, according to a New York Times report on Sunday.

The common belief perpetuated by Israel is that Hamas maintains its arsenal through underground smuggling, despite Israel’s almost two-decade long blockade of Gaza.

However, new intelligence reveals that Hamas has been constructing a significant portion of its rockets and anti-tank weapons using unexploded ordinance from Israeli strikes, according to weapons experts and Israeli and Western intelligence officials.  

This means that weapons that Israeli forces have deployed throughout its numerous assaults on Gaza for the past 17 years are now being turned against them by Hamas.

“Unexploded ordnance is a main source of explosives for Hamas,” said Michael Cardash, the former deputy head of the Israeli National Police Bomb Disposal Division to the NYT.

“They are cutting open artillery bombs from Israel, and a lot of them are being … repurposed for their explosives and rockets,” he added.

Weapons experts suggest that about 10 percent of munitions usually don't explode. However, for Israel, with some of its US-made munitions going back to the era of the Vietnam war, the rate might be as high as 15 percent, as per intelligence sources cited by the NYT.

Years of intermittent but intensive bombing by Israel, including the recent unprecedented bombardment of Gaza, have left thousands of tonnes of unexploded ordinance in the area, ripe for repurposing. One undetonated 750-pound bomb can be transformed into hundreds of missiles or rockets.

Live Story

In addition to Hamas’s repurposing of unexploded Israeli bombs, an Israeli security report seen by the NYT has revealed how many of the group’s weapons have been stolen over the years from poorly guarded Israeli military bases.

“We are fuelling our enemies with our own weapons,” read one line of the report.

Israel is believed to have dropped more than 25,000 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip since the start of its large-scale war on October 7, equivalent to two nuclear bombs, killing at least 26,422 people.