In the months leading up to the latest round of fighting, Hamas was in dire straits.

Last year, after deserting the Iranian-led “axis of resistance” and positioning itself in the Sunni coalition against the Assad regime in Syria, it lost the backing of the short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt and incurred the bitter enmity of the new military rulers in Cairo. All this seriously hurt Hamas’s political, economic and military interests in the Gaza Strip and isolated it regionally.

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