Investigations carried out by Israel revealed that Hamas has been using Chinese-made assault rifles and grenade launchers in its ongoing fight with the Jewish state, according to the Telegraph.
The report noted that the IDF had discovered stockpiles of supplies that included cartridges for M16s and telescopic sights for rifles. There were also military radios and listening devices discovered during the investigation.
The development raises questions about the nature of China’s involvement in the conflict in the Middle East. China has previously expressed interest in deescalating the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and eventually renewing the Iran nuclear deal.
Now, Israel is trying to figure out how Chinese-made weapons made it into Hamas’ hands, and whether Beijing was directly involved in supplying the terrorist group the military material.
A source from Israeli intelligence told the Telegraph that the situation “has come as a big surprise as before the war, relations were very good, but we have found massive amounts of Chinese weaponry and the question is, did it come directly from China to Hamas or not?”
“This is top-grade weaponry and communications technology, stuff that Hamas didn’t have before, with very sophisticated explosives which have never been found before and especially on such a large scale,” the source continued.
The development could have a large impact on the relationship between Israel and China, which was thriving at one point.
However, the ties have gradually cooled since October 7, when Hamas carried out a surprise attack against the Jewish state, slaughtering 1,200 people and abducting 240 more.
Israel has been irked by China for not coming to its defense following the horrific attack. The Telegraph reported that on October 14, Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, said the Jewish state’s response to Hamas’ terrorist attack went “beyond the scope of self-defense.”
Dr. Patrick Bury — a defense expert from the University of Bath — said Iran is known to have trained members of Hamas and is likely to have played a role in getting Chinese-made weapons into their hands.
“If it’s a large quantity, it’s most likely a state actor involved, and that state actor is highly likely to be Iran. It could be stuff that was purchased by Iran off China and found its way to Hamas. There are other potential actors but much less likely,” Bury said.
“China will not like the Iranians doing this with their kit. It’s not a good look if it’s a massive haul and trust will become an issue.”
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