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Thursday, September 16, 2010     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Recent mortar shells fired by Hamas into Israel contained phosphorous

TEL AVIV — Israel's military has concluded that the Hamas military was producing and firing a new deadly mortar shell.


Military sources said Hamas was producing mortars filled with phosphorous for attacks on Israel. They said the new mortars contained a greater lethality than previous Hamas models.

"They are much more dangerous and could cause tremendous damage if they hit the right places," a military source said.

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The military said Hamas has begun firing the phosphorous mortars into Israel. The first such attack was reported on Sept. 14 when two out of nine mortars fired into Israel contained phosphorous, Middle East Newsline reported.

The Hamas mortar attack on southern Israel did not cause any damage or injuries. But the sources said the phosphorous shells could result in the torching of crops in the area.

In September, Hamas and its Palestinian militia allies were reported to have escalated missile, mortar and rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. The military has reported daily rocket launches as well as retaliatory Air Force strikes on suspected Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

The sources said Hamas has been enhancing its arsenal over the last year. They cited efforts to enlarge warheads, extend their range and increase accuracy.

One of the enhancements was the installation of a new conventional explosive payload in the Hamas-origin Kassam-class, short-range missile. The upgraded missiles were said to contain a payload of 10 kilograms, about three times the size of the heritage weapon.

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