Defense officials: Hamas severely weakened by IDF Gaza op

Hamas's military wing, Izzadin Kassam, has been severely weakened, senior defense officials said Tuesday. However Monday night's rocket barrage on southern Israel proved that Gaza terrorists are still capable of firing deep into the Israeli home front, they said. Hamas had scaled back its operation and reduced rocket fire prior to the barrage, officials said, whilst it reestablished its communication infrastructure as well as command and control centers. The group has been severely impaired by the IDF Operation Cast Lead, which began on Saturday, the officials said. "Hamas is still strong, and is getting ready to engage Israeli soldiers in the event of a ground operation," one defense official said. "For now, it is busy working to rehabilitate its capabilities."