Hamas Uses Chinese HJ-8L Missile Against Israeli Armor in Gaza

Hamas Uses Chinese HJ-8L Missile Against Israeli Armor in Gaza

In a recent development in the ongoing Gaza conflict, Hamas has released footage showcasing the use of a Chinese-made HJ-8L Red Arrow anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) against an Israeli Namer Combat Engineering Vehicle (CEV). This incident, occurring near Rafah in southern Gaza, has raised questions about the militant group’s weapon acquisition and the evolving nature of asymmetric warfare in the region. “Hamas Uses Chinese HJ-8L Missile Against Israeli Armor in Gaza”.

The video footage reveals the Namer being struck on its side by the missile, resulting in a fire. Subsequently, a Caterpillar 966G wheeled tractor is seen extinguishing the blaze with sand, highlighting the improvised tactics employed in urban warfare scenarios.

The HJ-8, also known as Hongjian-8, is a sophisticated second-generation ATGM system. Originally deployed by the People’s Liberation Army in the late 1980s, it stands as a formidable counterpart to Western systems like the US BGM-71 TOW and the Franco-German MILAN/Euromissile HOT. This Chinese-made weapon has seen action in various global conflicts, including those in Yugoslavia, Sudan, and Sri Lanka.

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Key features of the HJ-8L include

  1. Tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided system
  2. HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) warhead
  3. Design incorporating elements from multiple Western ATGM systems

The missile’s design showcases a blend of international influences, with its tripod reportedly derived from the BGM-71 TOW, the tracker-control unit from the MILAN, and the missile body from the UK Swingfire. This fusion of technologies underscores the global nature of modern weapons development and proliferation.

The presence of such advanced weaponry in Hamas’s arsenal raises critical questions about arms trafficking and the group’s ability to acquire sophisticated military hardware. It also highlights the challenges faced by conventional forces when confronting non-state actors equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry.

As of now, the Israeli military has not issued an official comment on this specific incident. However, the use of such advanced anti-tank systems by militant groups is likely to influence future military strategies and vehicle designs in conflict zones.

This event serves as a stark reminder of the complexities inherent in modern asymmetric warfare. It underscores the need for continual adaptation in military tactics and technologies to counter evolving threats. Furthermore, it raises important questions about international arms control and the measures necessary to prevent advanced weapons systems from falling into the hands of non-state actors.

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