When Israeli officials examined shells and munitions that have been fired into Israel recently by Hamas, they realized that they look like they were not made in Gaza. Similarly, when IDF inspectors looked at some of the rocket launchers Israel captured near the Gaza border, they discovered units with the word Bang-122 written on them in Korean. Bang is evidently an abbreviation of the Korean phrase bangsapo, which means “multiple rocket launcher,” and 122 is thought to indicate the caliber—122 millimeters.
It turns out that North Korean arms dealers have been supplying Hamas with rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, laser-guided anti-tank missiles, and more. North Korean engineers, meanwhile, have taught Hamas how to design and build the many tunnels that underneath Gaza.
Bruce Bechtol, a political scientist at Angelo State University and a former Marine, is the author of the recent article “Hamas Is Using North Korean Weapons Against Israel” at the website 19fortyfive.com, and the book, North Korean Military Proliferation in the Middle East and Africa, published in 2018. Here he joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to discuss how Hamas connected with North Korea, what weapons are involved, and what each side gets out of the arrangement.
Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.