Interesting Equipment shown in Palestine Islamic Jihad's Recent Rally
Writing this by popular request.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a Palestinian terrorist organization with the objective of the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a independent Islamic Palestinian state. It has, along with Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, taken part in rocket, small arms, and fire balloon attacks against the Israeli state. With tensions with Israel rising once again since the resent hostilities, Palestine Islamic Jihad decided on Thursday 4th October to hold another rally and parade to show off their rocket and convential arms capabilities.
HQ images and videos of this rally in Gaza have now been released- Let's take a peek at some of the small arms they showed off, particulally those that are modern, rare or otherwise interesting. What was obvious and extremely common was the AK series, the universal arm of the militant all across the world, with perhaps the exception of ISIS East Asia. There were many Type 56-1/AKMS/AIMS AK variants as well as PKM around but these are very common and not a focus of this article.
This is the Zastava M92- a very short weapon made in the former Yugoslavia. It fires the 7.62x39 round like the typical AKM series, but in a form factor much more similar to the symbolic AKS-74U. Whereas this weapon is actually a Yugoslavian indigenous development, it is now manufactured in Serbia. The M92 has been seen in Iraq, the Yugoslavian Wars, Libya and more. It's likely that these weapons have been imported illegally after the Libyan civil war- there was roughly 80,000 imported by Colonel Gaddafi in two deals made in 2008 and 2009 during which the Gaddafi regime was not under international sanctions prohibiting the import of small arms.
Also spotted was the AK-103. The AK-103 is a 7.62x39mm version of the modern russian AK-74M. Armed groups in Gaza show this often in their parades and public activities, as it's appreciably and obviously newer than the other basic AKs so often seen. This comparatively modern rifle brings various improvements over older AK models, including side mounts for optics, excellent side folding stocks, better accuracy and of course a likely much more recent date of manufacture, even if the original design remains the one Mikhail Kalashnikov finalised in 1947. Also, the chambering of this rifle in 7.62x39mm makes much more sense for the established ammunition stockpiles and supply chains in Gaza and the surrounding region than the 5.45x39mm chambering of the AK-74M that it's based on.
This weapon could come from a variety of sources, the very likely source again being Libyan Leakage. ARES has a fantastic report on this and the FN F2000 in Gaza - the Gaddafi regime purchased a large number of modern small arms during the short time that Libya wasn't subject to international sanctions, and a number of these weapons ended up in the hands of Gazan groups. In this case, if the weapon is Libyan, the rifles will be the AK-103-2 variant, a variant of the AK-103 that includes a three round burst mode.
Given the volume of AK-103 shown in the various images of the parade, and in their propaganda images, I am of the opinion there is/was a reasonable amount of AK-103s imported into Gaza.
The militant in the first image above probably has one of the most practical and effective setups of anyone in the pictures, an AK-103 with a ELCAN C79 scope. The C79 is a telescopic sight of 3.4×28 magnification, is manufactured by Elcan of Canada, and is generally regarded as a solid and high-quality optic. The side mount appears to be similar to models manufactured by the russian VOMZ company, though it is obviously very hard to tell any details from this angle. It is very likely for it to be a cheap chinese side mount, which would obviously limit the zero held and hence the combat effectiveness of this combination.
The C79 is rare, but has been spotted in Libya too:
Credit: https://rogueadventurer.com/2011/12/14/optics-of-the-libyan-conflict-part-ii/, https://twitter.com/Oded121351
There was also various AMD-65 spotted. This is a Hungarian variant of the AKM that has a rather unusal foregrip and a very minimal stock. It also has a short (12.6") barrel length, and was first designed for airborne and vehicle bourne troops. This weapon has been captured from militants in Egypt, and given the known trade between Gazan armed groups and militants in the Sinai, these are likely to be from a similar source.
We can see that at least one of these weapons have been customised with a custom foregrip, rail, and optic. These look to be cheap Chinese products.
Below is militants with what are either the .50BMG AM-50 Sayyad, an Iranian copy of the Steyr HS.50 anti material rifle, or the Ghoul 14.5mm rifle, a Palestinian clone of the the AM-50 in the larger chambering. It's almost impossible to tell the difference without a closer look at details such as the pistol grip. The AM-50 and the Ghoul are a result of the sale of 800 HS.50 to the Iranian police in the mid 2000s, which were evidently promptly cloned by Iran's Defence Industries Organization (DIO). These have seen in use by both the Iranian armed forces, and Iranian client forces in Iraq, Syria and now in Gaza. The Ghoul is almost identical to the AM-50 but uses the soviet 14.5×114mm round, which would give it enhanced anti-light armour capabilites, but is unlikely to assist with accuracy. It's claimed to be produced domestically in Gaza.
We also saw a single FN FAL, which are common but don't seem to appear as much as the AK.
We saw a small number of militants with Colt 653s- these are the precusors to the famous M4, and can essentially be described as a M16A1 with short handguards, collapsing stock, and a 14.5" barrel. This weapon has been seen in the hands of armed groups in Gaza a number of times, and is valued as a light and small rifle.
I also spotted at least one Menusar Carbine. These are Israeli creations - read more about them here- and are US-Supplied M16s with a chopped barrel (Sometimes down to 10.5", sometimes longer), collapsing stock, A2-style handguards/pistol grip, and a fixed carry handle. We can also see a AKM with AG-40 UGL in this image. The AG-40 is a slightly obscure 40 mm underbarrel grenade launcher manufactured by Romarm, and has been spotted attached to AK-103 and AKM in the groups' propaganda/martyrdom images before. It's rarer than the typical GP-25 russian UGL typically seen attached to AKs of this vintage.
There was also a interesting range of RPG rounds on display too. Below we can see a Militant with either a Iranian Tandem Nader RPG-7 round or Bulgarian PG-7VT RPG-7 round. Both are dual HEAT rounds, but the video isn't high enough resolution to identify conclusively. Dual HEAT rounds are rounds that are designed to defeat reactive armour on vehicles via the use of a weak first stage to peirce, then a larger and more effective second stage to penetrate the armour and hence destroy the vehicle.
What appears to be the russian PG-7VR Tandem HEAT round for the RPG-7, a big upgrade to the standard PG-7, and one that could certainly be a danger to Israeli armour, though the Merkava's excellent armour and Trophy hard kill protection system is likely to mitigate such rounds effectively.
What appears to be a the Iranian Nader PG-7-AT round, a RPG-7 round that has been known to cause damage to American M1A1 Abrams tanks in Sadr City. It certainly doesn't appear that this group has a lack of anti-armour rounds, though how effective they would be against Israeli armour is debatable.
This Russian 9K38 Igla (SA-18) was only briefly shown but appears functional as the grip-stock, BCU and IFF components are present (Thank you to @phxasc for the positive identification). It's also possible that this could be a North Korean clone of the Igla. This is a fairly modern system and is much more functional than the SA-7 variants that are so often shown in use by militants all over the middle east, so could conceivably pose a threat to Israeli aircraft, especially low-flying Helicopters.
This parade and rally shows off no new systems that weren't known to be in the hands of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as the main focus of the rally was of course the artillery/ballistic missile systems that the group controls, that are out of the scope of this piece. However, it does demonstrate the pervasive spread of arms from what appears to be both Iran and the Libyan Civil war, with modern weapons systems and optics falling into the hands of this non state group. The anti-armour systems on display show a clear intent and ability to disrupt Israeli armoured operations. (Though the 9M14 Malyutka ATGM that was briefly visible whilst covered is extremely outdated).
Of course, another key function of this rally is for propaganda, to show capability and present a professional image to both friends and foes alike. The many anti-material rifles, snipers and modern assault rifles on display are a important part of this, but we don't know the true operational appearance and capability of the foot soldiers of this group, given the far larger amount of basic AKMs shown. It's much more likely that if and when the operatives of this group go into ground combat, they are carrying basic equipment, equipment that has remained the same for decades.
(Images and video courtsey of https://twitter.com/MrRevinsky and https://twitter.com/Jtruzmah/.)