Hamas nabs explosives from sunken WWI warship

Hamas scuba divers loot unexploded munitions even though Israeli navy knew it was there: “They beat us to it.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Hamas terror group in Gaza looted the high explosive ammunition from a sunken British warship off the coast of Gaza, even though the IDF had known the ship’s location for years but failed to act on it, Channel 12 News reported Monday.

“Hamas discovered a British warship sunk in the Gaza sea. The ship has a lot of weapons that can be developed or recycled. Everyone surrounded Hamas and prevented them from doing everything that could be manufactured as a weapon, so God opened a door for them,” Hamas supporter Ahmad Samara tweeted, referring to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed on Gaza to prevent Hamas from getting weapons.

The Royal Navy ship HMS M15 was a Monitor-class warship with a large cannon for shore bombardment. It was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on November 11, 1917 and sank in waters 33 meters deep, about one kilometer off the shore of Gaza City. Of the 69 man crew, 26 were lost in the incident.

Rami Sadnai, a veteran of the IDF’s elite naval commando unit, says that the existence of the British ship was known to him and his friends.

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“For many years we planned to dive into it, we had accurate maps and suitable equipment, but each time the security situation prevented us from coming and diving,” Sadnai said. “It simply sank too close to the Gaza coast and Hamas unfortunately beat us to it.”

According to the report, the ship lay on its side and its main gun had fallen off, spilling high-explosive artillery shells onto the seabed.

Hamas divers who were on a training mission came across the wreck, saw the exposed artillery shells and realized the potential. For several weeks they made dives to the sunken ship and slowly brought the shells ashore, after which Hamas posted pictures of the underwater recovery.

The ammunition was taken to underground rocket training workshops in the heart of the Gaza Strip, where they were dismantled by Hamas sabotage experts. It is not known how usable the material will be after being underwater for just over 100 years.

Following the IDF closure on the Gaza Strip and Egyptian army efforts to shut down the smuggling tunnels Hamas used to have under the Egypt-Gaza border, the terror group has been having a hard time smuggling weapons materials for use in its home-grown rocket industry.