The black markts of the Middle East have been knows for centuries as the place to find women, drugs and just about anything else — for a price.
Today, Hamas in Gaza, like Hezbollah before this in Lebanon, uses black market ingenuity to find, procure and smuggle rockets, rocket parts, small arms, ammunition and other tools of their trade past watchful Israeli officials.
The tough t produce rocket parts may come from as far away as China. But many parts are made in Iran or elsewhere in the Middle East using old Soviet or Chinese plans.
Today Hamas is using more of the imported Katyusha rockets, which have a longer range than the crude, homemade Qassam rockets it relied on in the past. This accounts for the longer range rocket strikes Israel has been pointing out to the media — a key reason for this week’s Israeli action into Gaza.
Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times delved into this topic and his report is a good one….
Israeli officials confirmed today that Hamas was firing 122mm Grad artillery rockets at southern Israeli communities. The rockets, which are manufactured in more than 50 countries and widely available on the black market, have hit targets several southern Israeli cities.
“These are the longest-range rockets that have been fired to date as far as we are concerned,” said Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Read the rest from The Times (UK):