Hamas’s use of anti-tank Kornet missiles supplied by Iran and Hezbollah

On November 12, 2018, Hamas launched an anti-tank Kornet missile from the Gaza Strip at a bus carrying soldiers near the border with the Gaza Strip (south of the city of Sderot). An IDF soldier was severely wounded. A few minutes before the missile was launched, dozens of soldiers got off the bus to receive a briefing nearby. Launching the missile was the “opening shot” of a massive rocket attack initiated by Hamas, targeting cities and communities in the western Negev, with other terrorist organizations joining as well.

  • Kornet is a Russian-made laser-guided advanced anti-tank weapon system. Iran supplied it to Hezbollah, which skillfully employed Kornet missiles against IDF soldiers during the Second Lebanon War (2006). After the war (around 2009), Iran and probably also Hezbollah supplied this weapon to the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to repeat their success in Lebanon (Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah publicly admitted that he had supplied Kornet missiles to the Gaza Strip). The provision of Kornet missiles to the Hamas (and other terrorist organizations) was carried out to equip them with a response to the advantage of the IDF armored vehicles, demonstrated in operations carried out in the Gaza Strip.
  • Hamas and the other terrorist organizations used Kornet missiles against IDF armored vehicles in Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense. In addition, anti-tank missiles were fired at military and civilian vehicles moving near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip:
    • On April 7, 2011, Hamas launched a Kornet missile at a school bus near Sa’ad junction (south of Sderot). A few minutes before the launch, dozens of students got off the bus. The driver and a 16-year old boy remained on the bus. The boy was killed and the driver was slightly wounded. The launch triggered escalation in the south of Israel. During the escalation, about 120 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel, hitting the cities of Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon and other communities. The IDF responded by an extensive attack on terrorist targets.
    • On November 10, 2012, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) launched a Kornet missile at an IDF jeep engaged in routine security activity. Four IDF soldiers were wounded, one of them severely. The attack triggered escalation which lasted for several days. The escalation led to the killing of Ahmad al-Jaabari, acting commander of Hamas’s military wing, and to Operation Pillar of Defense (starting on November 14, 2012).
Kornet missile launched at bus near the Gaza Strip border fence
  • On November 12, 2018, in the afternoon, Hamas fired a Kornet missile from the Gaza Strip at a bus near the border fence, south of Sderot. The bus went up in flames and a soldier guarding it was severely wounded. The launch was carried out a few minutes after dozens of soldiers got off the bus to receive a briefing nearby. The missile launch was the “opening shot” of a Hamas-led massive rocket attack targeting the western Negev and lasting for 24 hours.
  • After firing the missile, Hamas and the joint operations room of the Gaza Strip terrorist organizations released an announcement claiming responsibility. According to the claim of responsibility, the launch was carried out in retaliation for a confrontation east of Khan Younes, in which seven terrorist operatives were killed. According to the announcement, the bus went up in flames and all the passengers were killed or wounded (website of Hamas’s military wing, November 12, 2018)

Read More: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center