A rocket fired by Palestinian from inside Gaza Strip makes its way towards Israel, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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Palestinian Hamas fighters once tried in vain to copy Israel's iconic submachine gun, the Uzi.The variety and range of its rocket arsenal – both closely guarded secrets – have steadily improved since Hamas emerged as an underground militant group in 1987 .Ahmad Jaabari – the chief of Hamas' armed wing who was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike in 2012 – masterminded the group's domestic manufacturing capability that helped allow it, analysts say, to keep launching salvoes at Israel despite the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on supplies to Gaza. A commander in Hamas' armed wing told Reuters that before Jaabari rose to a higher military echelon in 1996, the group had only a small number of AK-47 rifles and a single rocket-propelled grenade. Now, in the worst outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence in two years, Israel's military says it has hit Hamas' rocket launchers and storage facilities hard.Hamas gauged the range of its first homemade rocket, the Qassam, by firing it out to sea before listening to Israeli news alerts and receiving reports from Palestinian spotters inside Israel, Hamas sources said.
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