Hamas is testing medium to long range missiles that are designed to reach Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The group manufactures its own 8-inch M75 rockets and stores them in special caches in the Gaza Strip.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said Monday that while there is calm in Gaza, Hamas continues to enhance its capabilities "less through tunnels and more through self-production."
Nevertheless, the Islamist group is interested in maintaining calm in the south that has persisted in the eight months since Operation Pillar of Defense , partly due to pressures from Cairo.
Hamas succeeded in firing a number of the M-75-type medium-range projectiles at greater Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during the eight-day, Operation Pillar of Defense in November.
More recently an M-75 landed south of Ashkelon in February. Hamas referred to the M-75 as "an improved Kassam" upon first using it during Operation Pillar of Defense.
The IAF targeted long-range rockets, and rocket launchers belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad at the onset of last year's Gaza operation. The IAF's first goal was to destroy stockpiles of long-range rockets such as the Fajr-5 and other rockets capable of striking Tel Aviv from Gaza.
The IDF said at the time that it believed it had eliminated the majority of the long-range threat.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz addressed the current state of the Gaza front on Monday, stating that the Strip "is relatively quiet after Operation Pillar of Defense - there is a very high level of deterrence."
He added, however, that terror groups in the coastal territory had not stopped adding to their abilities through smuggling tunnels and through the production of their own weapons which he said was becoming "more and more advanced."
Photos 2-4: Iron Dome in action above Tel Aviv,and a car on fire after hit from a rocket sharpnel, during Hamas long range rocket attacks on Tel Aviv in last November
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