The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recovered Iranian-produced weapons used by Hamas inside Israel during the Oct. 7 terror attack. While many of the weapons used in the attack were manufactured in Gaza, the recovery of Iranian-made AZ111 mortar round fuses and M112 demolition charges provides evidence that weapons produced in Iran were also used by Hamas to attack Israeli civilians.
The IDF seized 60mm mortar rounds with AZ111-A2 fuses that were brought by Hamas fighters into Israel during the Oct. 7 attack, which along with the subsequent attacks has claimed the lives of at least 1,400 Israelis. Mortars are a short-range indirect fire weapon that could be used to attack a wide range of targets, from border outposts to civilian homes.
The AZ111 fuse, including both the A1 and A2 variants, is produced by Iran. The AZ111 is a close copy of the German DM-111. Following the October 7 attack, the IDF displayed an AZ111 fuse to a CNN reporting team, along with many other seized weapons from the attack. A May 2011 United Nations (UN) Panel of Experts report states that the AZ111-A2 fuse is in the catalogue of the Defense Industries Organization, an Iranian weapons manufacturer that is affiliated with the Iranian Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics. Additionally, AZ111 fuses appear to have been displayed at an Iranian weapons exposition in 2019. AZ111 fuses have been found in maritime seizures of vessels smuggling Iranian weapons to its terror proxies, including the 2009 MV Francop and 2011 Victoria interdictions.
The IDF also seized M112 demolition charges used by Hamas during the October 7 terror attack. These charges create explosions to penetrate fortifications and buildings. The M112 charges recovered can be formed into any shape or size, making the explosive highly versatile. It is likely that Hamas terrorists used these demolition charges on Oct. 7 to penetrate Israeli homes and bomb shelters with the goal of killing the civilians inside.
The explosives recovered are identical to the Iranian-manufactured M112 charges intercepted during multiple U.S.-Yemen and U.S.-Bahrain Coast Guard counter-smuggling operations conducted between 2013 and 2018. A major interdiction connecting M112 charges to Iran was the Jihan 1 Dhow in 2013, which was headed from Iran to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
A 2013 UN Panel of Experts report determined that “all available information places the Islamic Republic of Iran at the centre of the Jihan operation” and [the panel] “identified similarities among some of the arms, as well as their packaging, with previously reported cases of arms shipments inspected by the Panel and found to have originated in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Since the Jihan interdiction, several seizures of M112 blocks have been connected to Iranian manufacturing and smuggling operations to Iran’s terror proxies in Yemen, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Gaza.
Admittedly, Hamas’ use of the Iranian-produced mortar fuses and demolition charges on Oct. 7 does not prove that Iran smuggled them to Hamas, as weapons often change hands many times before they are used. The pattern of Iranian weapons smuggling, however, suggests that it is highly likely Iran smuggled the fuses and demolition charges to Gaza in addition to producing them.
Indeed, Iran smuggles weapons to Gaza through tunnels in the Sinai Peninsula and by sea. Egyptian and Israeli forces have only been able to partially stem the flow of weapons to Hamas. In fact, Hamas thanked Iran for supplying military support during the terror group’s war with Israel in May 2021. Iran also arms Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a host of other Iranian terror proxies on Israel’s borders.
“Hamas has received funding, weapons, and training from Iran,” according to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2021. Hamas’ use of Iranian-produced AZ111-A2 60mm mortar fuses and M112 demolition charges in the Oct. 7 attack provides additional evidence that terror groups such as Hamas continue to use Iranian weapons to attack Israelis.
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