JERUSALEM, Nov. 3, 2009 — -- Palestinian militant group Hamas has test-fired a new missile capable of flying over 40 miles, for the first time bringing Tel Aviv, Israel's biggest city, into range.
The news was revealed Monday by Gen. Amos Yadlin, Israel's head of military intelligence, in a weekly briefing to members of the country's parliament, The Knesset.
According to Yadlin the missile was fired into the sea from Hamas's stronghold in Gaza by Hamas operatives and was a sign of the group's growing military capabilities.
Unconfirmed sources said the missile was Iranian made and smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
Hamas rocket fire from Gaza prompted Israel's recent military offensive Operation Cast Lead. It was launched last December in what the Israelis described as a bid to reduce Hamas's military power.
Despite the onslaught Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel. Several longer-range homemade missiles landed in the city of Beersheva, 25 miles away.
Israel was subsequently accused of using disproportionate force in its campaign and a recent UN-sponsored human rights report accused it and Hamas of war crimes, something which both sides have vehemently denied.
Monday's news suggests Hamas has successfully continued to bolster its arsenal of rockets and missiles, despite the damage it suffered during the offensive.
Israel has long accused the group of being funded and armed by Syria and Iran.
Israel: Syria, Iran Give Militants Arms, Aid
At Monday's briefing, Gen. Yadlin also reported that the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah has been stockpiling its weapons. He said these too were sent from Iran with Syrian help.
"Syria has turned into the main factory and weapons cache for Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as for Syria itself, with financial aid from Iran," he said.