In the aftermath of the Israel Defense Forces’ ground operation in Gaza, Hamas fighters utilizing an underground network have escalated attacks on Israeli forces, employing an array of light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Notably, one weapon gaining prominence in targeting Israeli tanks and armored vehicles is the Al-Yassin 105 handheld anti-tank grenade launcher.
Hamas’ Al-Yassin 105: The Evolution of an Anti-Tank Rocket
This modified rocket, based on the outdated RPG-2 and RPG-7 designs, boasts a tandem-shaped warhead identical to the PG-7VR. Named after the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, this 105/64 mm caliber weapon is designed for use with the Yassin anti-tank launcher—a Palestinian counterpart to the RPG-2. Despite being unguided, the Al-Yassin 105 has proven to be a formidable force, capable of targeting a range of armored vehicles, including the revered and feared Merkava tanks used by Israeli occupiers.
Crucially, the weapon’s development began shortly after the introduction of the Tandem 85 anti-tank projectile by Hamas for rocket launchers (RPGs). The Tandem 85, modeled after RPG-2 and RPG-7 ammunition, demonstrated its effectiveness during various conflicts, prompting the evolution into the more potent Al-Yassin 105. Hamas claims that this modified rocket has the capability to destroy everything from armored vehicles to the highly respected Merkava tanks used by Israeli forces.
The Al-Yassin 105 was first utilized in retaliation against Israel’s occupation around the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023, during the ‘Flood of Al-Aqsa’ operation. Initially developed for its robustness, simplicity, and cost-effectiveness, this rocket launcher has since evolved, with Hamas claiming enhancements in accuracy and effectiveness against tanks and armored vehicles.
Despite various countries classifying Hamas as a banned organization, differing perspectives persist, including Indonesia’s distinct view. Officially recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, and some Western European countries, Hamas remains a complex entity with varied international perceptions.
In a released video by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, the Al-Yassin 105 rocket was showcased, providing information on the high-explosive anti-tank weapon. The video depicted Hamas fighters launching the rocket towards IDF colonial armored vehicles, confirming its use during the latest conflict in the Gaza Strip.
The projectile features a dual-stage warhead with two charges, designed to explode sequentially: the first penetrates outer layers or reactive armor, and the second pierces the tank’s core, detonating inside. The rocket’s estimated range spans from 100 to 500 meters, with an effective range of approximately 150 meters, reaching a maximum speed of 300 meters per second.
Hamas’ Response to Merkava Tanks
As part of Hamas’ evolving strategy, they have disseminated guidelines on exploiting potential vulnerabilities in Merkava tanks. These guidelines include specific instructions on where to target tanks and what weapons to use, resembling tactics employed by Russia against Abrams tanks in Ukraine.
Moreover, Hamas seeks to neutralize the active protection system Trophy, integrated into some modern Israeli Merkava Mark IV tanks. They recommend firing rocket-propelled grenades from close range, around 50 meters or closer, to minimize the system’s reaction time.
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Notably, Hamas fighters have demonstrated their ability to target Merkava tanks with drones, focusing on vulnerable areas such as the tank’s engine compartment and the bustling turret, where reserve ammunition is stored.
The development and strategic use of the Al-Yassin 105 underscore the ever-evolving nature of conflicts in the region, with non-state actors adapting and innovating in response to military advancements. As geopolitical tensions persist, the utilization of unconventional weapons and asymmetrical tactics continues to shape the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.