Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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For years, lack of cash has hobbled Hamas' Gaza government, yet the military capabilities of the Islamist group's armed wing have expanded and it may rake in donations now that it is meeting Israel on the battlefield.For seven years, Hamas has struggled to run the impoverished and blockaded Gaza Strip. The rise to power in Cairo in 2012 of the Muslim Brotherhood – of which Hamas is an offshoot – gave the Palestinian movement a friend on its southern border for a year or so, although the army that overthrew the Egyptian Islamists last year had kept a grip on the smuggling tunnels by which Hamas procured munitions.Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Palestinian rivals in the secular Fatah party in 2007, a year after sweeping a parliamentary election in Gaza and the West Bank.It is unclear whether Hamas' political or armed wings have contributed to the government budget – in principle, both organizations keep their finances strictly separate.Facing the Israel and Egyptian blockade, Hamas has been adapting its economic strategy for the long haul by investing in agriculture and trade to generate more local revenues, according to Gaza political analyst Hani Habib.
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