South Korea’s intelligence agency has claimed that North Korea was involved in the recent Gaza war by supplying missile parts and technology to Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the coastal enclave.
According to the agency, North Korea sold Hamas hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of rocket-propelled grenades, communication equipment, and guidance systems for rockets and missiles¹². The agency also said that North Korea had previously provided Hamas with training and expertise on tunnel construction and warfare.
The allegation of North Korea’s support for Hamas is based on several sources of evidence, including intercepted communications, satellite imagery, and weapons seized by Israel. The South Korean intelligence agency said that it had detected phone calls and emails between North Korean and Hamas officials, as well as shipments of cargo containers from North Korea to Iran, Sudan, and Egypt, which are believed to be transit points for smuggling weapons to Gaza.
The agency also said that it had identified North Korean-made F-7 rocket-propelled grenades, which have a distinctive red stripe, among the weapons captured by Israel during the Gaza war. Moreover, the agency said that it had analyzed the design and performance of the rockets and missiles fired by Hamas, and found similarities with North Korean models, such as the Fajr-3 and the M-1958 .
The motivation behind North Korea’s involvement in the Gaza war is twofold: ideological and economic. On the ideological level, North Korea has a long history of supporting anti-Israel and anti-American forces in the Middle East, such as Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. North Korea views these allies as part of a common front against the US-led imperialist bloc, and as a way to enhance its international prestige and influence .
On the economic level, North Korea relies on arms exports as a major source of income, especially amid the sanctions imposed by the international community over its nuclear and missile programs. North Korea sells its weapons to its Middle Eastern clients at discounted prices, but still earns hundreds of millions of dollars annually from these deals.
The implication of North Korea’s involvement in the Gaza war is serious and alarming, as it poses a threat to regional and global security and stability. By providing Hamas with missile parts and technology, North Korea enables the militant group to increase its firepower and range, and to challenge Israel’s military superiority and deterrence. By providing Hamas with tunnel expertise, North Korea helps the militant group to evade Israel’s blockade and surveillance, and to launch surprise attacks and kidnappings.
By providing Hamas with communication equipment, North Korea assists the militant group to coordinate its operations and propaganda. All these factors contribute to the escalation of violence and the prolongation of the conflict in Gaza, as well as the undermining of the peace efforts and the humanitarian situation.