Striking Deep into Israel, Hamas Employs an Upgraded Arsenal

[New York Times] Mark Mazzetti - By firing rockets deep into Israeli territory, Hamas has in recent days displayed an arsenal that has been upgraded with weapons parts smuggled into Gaza since it seized control of the territory 18 months ago, according to American and Israeli officials. Hamas and other militant groups have lobbed thousands of rockets into Israel since 2001. The difference now, officials said, is that Hamas is using more of the imported Katyusha rockets, which have a longer range than the homemade Kassam rockets it relied on in the past. A senior Israeli military official said Israeli intelligence believed Hamas took advantage of a six-month truce with Israel to bolster its stockpiles. American and Israeli officials said there was evidence that some Hamas fighters might have been schooled in urban assault tactics at Iranian camps run by the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. In April, the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center released a report saying Hamas had been engaged in a military buildup since the group took control of Gaza in June 2007. The report cited data by the Israel Security Agency asserting that Hamas had smuggled at least 80 tons of explosives into Gaza since then.

2009-01-02 06:00:00

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