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Current Gaza fighting reflects new battleground


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Israel’s inability to halt the rocket attacks, after days of intense aerial bombardments, reflects its limitations. Just as Israel has raced to improve its military tactics, Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza have built up their arsenals with large numbers of powerful weapons.

Once limited to crude projectiles manufactured in Gaza, Hamas has used smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt to bring in sophisticated, longer-range rockets from Iran and Libya, which has been flush with weapons since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted last year.

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Israel appeared stunned by the attack on Jerusalem, though a day later officials insisted they were aware of the weapon. Hamas said the M-75 missile was made in Gaza, with Iranian assistance.

Hamas officials rejected the Israeli intelligence bravado as propaganda, calling it psychological warfare.

The militants have also done a better job of evading the Israeli military by refraining from using mobile phones or two-way radios and moving frequently from one underground location to another.

In turn, Israel’s "Iron Dome" rocket-defense system has provided the country a defensive boost. The military says the system has intercepted nearly 250 rockets, including one heading toward Tel Aviv on Saturday.

The only Israeli deaths in the fighting so far were three civilians who officials said had ignored well publicized security precautions.

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Follow Heller on Twitter (at)aronhellerap




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