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Hamas uses paragliders to breach Israeli border

Screenshot from a Hamas video shows Palestinian militants using a paraglider to infiltrate the Gaza-Israel border on 7 October. (Hamas)

Palestinian militants used paragliders to breach the Gaza-Israel border on 7 October, marking the first known use of the tactic.

Hamas operatives flew both twin- and single-occupant powered paragliders to insert fighters and to attack the Israeli security apparatus as part of the group’s wider attack along the border region.

Videos posted online showed multiple powered paragliders being used in the attack, in what was not just a first for Hamas and the wider Palestinian movement, but also the first known military use of such aircraft globally.

The twin-person paragliders were of a seated trike configuration, with the rear occupant flying the aircraft and the armed front passenger positioned to rapidly disembark and assault the landing zone. The single-person paragliders were of the type where the engine and propeller are mounted directly on to the pilot’s back.

Although slow and loud, these paragliders had a relatively short distance to cover and so would not have been exposed to Israeli border defences long enough for effective countermeasures to be employed. Also, with this being the first such operation involving paragliders, it is likely that the Israeli border personnel would not have appreciated the nature of their use in time to respond. Further, from online videos it appeared that at least some of the paragliders crossed the border under the cover of rocket barrages being fired into Israel.

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