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Friday, March 7, 2008       Free Headline Alerts

Hamas says new air defense system kept Israeli helicopters at bay

GAZA CITY — Hamas reports it has deployed an indigenous air defense system in the Gaza Strip.

The Islamic regime said the air defense system was activated during the Israeli incursion of the northern Gaza Strip in early March, Middle East Newsline reported. Hamas said the system's heavy machine guns drove off Israeli attack helicopters that came to evacuate injured troops in the Jabalya refugee camp.

"A unique surprise was when the air defense unit in [Hamas's] Al Kassam Brigades, with only six machine guns and from a different places, launched intensive fire towards Zionist planes, which arrived half an hour after the attack," Hamas said in a statement on March 5.

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On Thursday, Hamas radio reported that Islamic regime forces opened fire toward Israel Air Force planes. There were no reports that any of the aircraft was struck.

Hamas has sought to develop anti-aircraft systems to hamper Israeli air operations over the Gaza Strip. The regime was said to have accumulated at least 50 SA-7 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

"The Zionist warplanes retreated numerous times," the Hamas statement said. "The Zionist military analysts admitted that the Zionist air force arrived only three hours later to evacuate the injured."



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