MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Hamas was covertly attempting to strike an arms deal with North Korea so it could press on with firing missiles at Israel from the Gaza Strip, according to a report published the other day by The Telegraph newspaper.
The rebel group thus aimed at replenishing its missile arsenal “because of the large numbers it has fired at Israel in recent weeks,” Britain’s daily cited a Western security official as saying.
“North Korea is an obvious place to seek supplies because Pyongyang already has close ties with a number of militant Islamist groups in the Middle East,” he added.
The deal is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and, as the report states, the cash down payment for hundreds of missiles has already been made.
This is not the only report on North Koreans supplying weapons abroad. Its long history of manufacturing and selling arms includes deals with Syria and Iran, US officials claim. Hamas-North Korea ties were exposed for the first time in 2009 as a staggering 35 tons of weapons were seized from a cargo plane that made an emergency landing in Bangkok.
This month a US judge ruled North Korea and Iran liable for missile attacks by Hizballah in 2006, as North Korea is said to have smuggled weapons to Lebanon via Iran.
Separately the UN blacklisted a North Korea shipping company after one of its ships was intercepted carrying fighter jets from Cuba across the Pacific.
DPRK is also reported to advise Palestinians on designing an extensive network of tunnels to infiltrate the Israeli territory, as the North Koreans can boast a vast expertise in the field applied in areas bordering South Korea.
North Korea vehemently rejected the West-made claims, saying the latest story is a fabricated one, specially designed to isolate the country internationally, as well as drag it into the Middle East crisis.