Indications Suggest Hamas Utilized North Korean Armaments in Assault Against Israel

by Madison Thomas
North Korean weapons in Hamas attack

In an attack launched against Israel on October 7, Hamas militants are believed to have employed weapons of North Korean origin, according to an analysis of a militant video and seized armaments. This comes in contrast to North Korea’s denials of any arms transactions with the militant organization.

Two authorities specializing in North Korean munitions conducted an examination of the video. When coupled with an assessment from Big Big News on confiscated weaponry and intelligence reports from South Korean military sources, evidence suggests that Hamas made use of the F-7 rocket-propelled grenade—a shoulder-fired weapon commonly used against armored vehicles.

This revelation illuminates the opaque realm of unauthorized arms trades that North Korea engages in to financially support its weapons development programs.

Rocket-propelled grenade launchers, such as the F-7, are prized assets for insurgent groups as they can quickly fire a single warhead and be promptly reloaded. This makes them effective for swift, mobile conflicts involving armored vehicles. N.R. Jenzen-Jones, Director of Armament Research Services and a recognized expert on weaponry, noted that the F-7 has been encountered in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip.

Jenzen-Jones stated to Big Big News that North Korean munitions have been a staple among interdicted supplies for Palestinian militant factions for some time. Photographic evidence released by Hamas displays militants holding weapons featuring a distinctive red stripe across the warhead, along with other design elements consistent with the F-7, according to Matt Schroeder, a senior researcher with Small Arms Survey.

The F-7 bears similarities to the more widely available Soviet RPG-7, albeit with specific differences that set it apart. Analysis by the Associated Press of militant videos confirms the presence of the F-7 among the weapons carried by Hamas fighters. The Israeli military has also presented armaments with design elements corresponding to the F-7 but declined to comment on their origins, citing the ongoing conflict with Hamas as a reason.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a briefing to journalists, singled out the F-7 as one of the weapons of North Korean make likely used by Hamas. Meanwhile, North Korea dismissed the allegations of Hamas employing its weaponry as unfounded, labeling them as fabrications by the United States.

Hamas has also been shown in prior propaganda material wielding North Korea’s Bulsae guided anti-tank missiles and the Type 58 self-loading rifle, a Kalashnikov variant, according to Jenzen-Jones.

Iran has also been implicated in the story, as it has been known to model its ballistic missiles on North Korean designs. Iranian officials, long-standing supporters of Hamas, have not yet responded to inquiries for comments.

Previous instances of intercepted arms shipments from North Korea included a 2009 case when Thai authorities seized a North Korean plane containing 35 tons of conventional weapons. These were reportedly en route to Iran, and the United States later claimed in 2012 that the shipment was ultimately intended for Hamas.

Further arousing suspicion is North Korea’s suspected provision of military supplies, including munitions and artillery shells, to Russia, particularly in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Last week, the White House disclosed that North Korea had recently sent over 1,000 containers of military hardware and munitions to Russia.

Reported by Gambrell from Jerusalem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about North Korean weapons in Hamas attack

What is the primary evidence suggesting that Hamas used North Korean weapons in the recent attack on Israel?

The primary evidence comes from the analysis of a militant video and weapons seized by the Israeli military. Experts on North Korean arms have examined the footage, and along with South Korean military intelligence, they suggest that the F-7 rocket-propelled grenade, a North Korean weapon, was used by Hamas.

Who are the experts that analyzed the North Korean weapons used by Hamas?

Two authorities specializing in North Korean munitions were responsible for the analysis of the militant video. N.R. Jenzen-Jones, Director of Armament Research Services, and Matt Schroeder, a senior researcher with Small Arms Survey, contributed their expertise.

How does the F-7 rocket-propelled grenade differ from other similar weapons?

The F-7 bears similarities to the more commonly available Soviet RPG-7. However, it has specific differences, including design elements such as a distinctive red stripe across its warhead, which sets it apart.

What is North Korea’s response to the allegations?

North Korea has dismissed the allegations, stating through its state-run KCNA news agency that the claims of Hamas using its weapons are “a groundless and false rumor” orchestrated by the United States.

Have North Korean weapons appeared in other conflicts or with other militant groups?

Yes, the F-7 rocket-propelled grenade has been documented in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. North Korea has also been suspected of supplying munitions and artillery shells to Russia, particularly in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

What implications does this have on the global arms trade and international relations?

This situation sheds light on the illicit global arms trade and North Korea’s role in it. It raises concerns about the reach of North Korean arms, potential sanctions violations, and the complex web of relationships between militant groups and state actors.

Has Iran also been implicated in the use of North Korean weaponry?

Iran has modeled some of its ballistic missiles after North Korean designs and has been a long-standing supporter of Hamas. However, Iran’s direct involvement in this specific case has not been confirmed.

What previous instances of North Korean arms shipments have been intercepted?

In December 2009, Thai authorities intercepted a North Korean cargo plane reportedly carrying 35 tons of conventional arms, including rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, bound for Iran. The United States later claimed that the shipment was intended for Hamas.

More about North Korean weapons in Hamas attack

  • Analysis of North Korean Arms by Experts
  • South Korean Military Intelligence Reports
  • North Korea’s Denial via KCNA News Agency
  • Report on Thai Interception of North Korean Arms Shipment in 2009
  • White House Statement on North Korean Supplies to Russia
  • Iran’s Modeling of Ballistic Missiles Based on North Korean Designs
  • Overview of Global Illicit Arms Trade
  • Hamas Propaganda Material Featuring North Korean Weapons

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Rachel K. October 19, 2023 - 9:50 am

So basically, North Korea is making money by selling arms. Now thats something new! Not.

Tina R. October 19, 2023 - 1:15 pm

If this is all true, global politics is messier than I thought. So many players involved.

Sarah L. October 19, 2023 - 1:35 pm

The global arms trade is so convoluted. Who can even keep track anymore?

Emily W. October 19, 2023 - 4:03 pm

I can’t say I’m surprised about North Korea. They’ve been linked to shady deals for years now.

David S. October 19, 2023 - 8:52 pm

We need more hard evidence. Words are just words, right?

Mike J. October 19, 2023 - 10:40 pm

Wait, Iran’s also in the mix? As if the situation wasn’t complicated enough.

Karen T. October 20, 2023 - 1:32 am

It’s worrying that these weapons are finding their way into conflicts worldwide. What’s the UN doing about it?

Chris M October 20, 2023 - 2:03 am

this is big. Makes you wonder how many other conflicts North Korea’s got a hand in.

Leo G. October 20, 2023 - 3:36 am

Is anyone else concerned about the red stripe on the F-7? Makes it seem like they’re marking it as theirs. Weird.

John D. October 20, 2023 - 4:27 am

Wow, if this is true, it’s a game changer! North Korea selling arms to Hamas? That’s huge, man.


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