Injured Israeli soldiers board a helicopter as they are evacuated from Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 23, 2014. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)
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Using tunnels, mines, booby traps and snipers, Hamas fighters have inflicted record casualties on Israeli troops waging an offensive in the Gaza Strip, applying years of training in urban warfare with a new tactical acumen and suicidal resolve.Hamas has far outstripped fellow militants in Islamic Jihad and other groups in sending drones, scuba commandos and tunnel raiders to take the fight into Israel.In one such infiltration, Hamas fighters emerged wearing full Israeli uniform, but were let down by one key detail -- they were carrying Kalashnikov rifles, not standard issue M16s or Tavor assault rifles. In the most deadly incident for Israel yet, on the first day of its incursion to begin destroying the tunnels Sunday, Hamas says its fighters watched as an enemy armored personnel carrier lurched into a web of booby traps they had laid. The Israeli military acknowledges Hamas' increased skill.Israel says it has so far killed more than 200 Palestinian fighters.Morale was high and Hamas fighters were preparing for a fight during a visit by Reuters in April to a training camp of its military wing on a vast sandy expanse in northern Gaza.In 22-days of fighting during a 2008-9 conflict, Hamas and other militant groups largely melted away, allowing Israeli tanks to approach the outskirts of Gaza City.
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