How well armed is Hamas?

Hamas is one of the most heavily armed guerrilla organisations in the world, according to military analyst Professor Michael Clarke.

It lacks the same type of armoured vehicles as Israel – they would be visible and easy targets anyway.

“They operate from utility vehicles like Land Rover Discoverys and mount a weapon on the back, like a 30-calibre heavy machine gun,” says Clarke.

These can be very mobile and have been used to devastating effect.

And while Israel has its formidable Iron Dome air defence system, Hamas has been able to overwhelm it with sheer numbers of rockets – like at the weekend.

It uses different versions of the Iranian-made Fateh-110 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles which are road-mobile and can carry warheads weighing up to 500kg.

Hamas also has anti-tank missiles similar to the US’s Stinger.

“Hamas are very well-equipped with certain sorts of things and they are trained to use them,” Clarke says.

Asked how many fighters Hamas has, Clarke says they have previously been estimated to have around 10,000, but added that “when violence flairs they can mobilise lots of people”.

“So their numbers can go from 10,000 committed Hamas people to anything up to 40,000, 50,000,” he adds.

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