Hamas to expand Gaza army

Friday, July 06, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

The Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas plans to significantly expand its military forces in the Gaza Strip, warned senior Israeli defense officials this week.

Following its military conquest of Gaza last month, Hamas took possession of a huge quantity weapons supplied by Israel and the US to its rivals in Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.

Hamas' seizure of those arms has caused the price of weapons in Gaza to drastically decrease. The group intends to take advantage of that fact by increasing its Iranian-trained military force by 9,000 to 15,000 men, one Israeli source told Ynet.

Additionally, Fatah had in its Gaza arms depots a large number of weapons prohibited by the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements, such as anti-aircraft missiles and guns, advanced anti-tank missiles and short-range Katyusha rockets of the type favored by Lebanon's Hizballah.

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