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Hamas Says It Tried to Hit Israeli Nuclear Reactor with Rockets

Israelis inspect damage outside a house in the southern city of Netivot following a rocket strike by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Hamas a day earlier claimed responsibility for an unsuccessful rocket attack on Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor. Israelis inspect damage outside a house in the southern city of Netivot following a rocket strike by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Hamas a day earlier claimed responsibility for an unsuccessful rocket attack on Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday unsuccessfully launched a rocket strike against Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, Reuters reported.

An Israeli army spokesman said that three rockets were launched in the direction of the atomic facility, which is located in the Negev Desert. Israel's air defense system Iron Dome neutralized one of the rockets, and the other two landed in open areas. No casualties or damage resulted from the rocket strike, the spokesman said.

Hamas said it was responsible for the rocket launch, and that it was deliberately targeting the reactor. The Islamist group's military wing, the Qassam Brigades, said it had fired M-75 rockets at the nuclear facility, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Wednesday's attack followed a ruse last week when an official Israeli military Twitter account was hacked and an erroneous tweet posted that claimed a "possible nuclear leak" had occurred following a rocket attack on the Dimona reactor.

The Dimona site is understood to have played a critical role, albeit officially unacknowledged, in Israel's development of an assumed nuclear arsenal.

In 2012 it was reported that Israel would temporarily shut down operations at the Dimona site and at a research reactor at Nahal Sorek if the country again came under rocket and missile attack. Media reports from Wednesday and Thursday did not specify whether reactor activities had indeed been halted. According to the reported contingency plans of the Israeli government, during a rocket attack Israeli nuclear personnel would still report for work but would perform their tasks from specially reinforced locations.

Hamas is thought to possess approximately 10,000 rockets, slightly more than it possessed prior to its last war with Israel in late 2012, the Christian Science Monitor reported. However, Hamas' rockets are more precise today, and the group also possesses longer-range missiles that can hit targets further away than Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

"They have more [rockets and missiles] , but more important, the majority of what they have is from the longer-range side," said ex-Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror in an interview.

Israel has been proud of the performance of its new Iron Dome system, which currently consists of seven deployed interceptor batteries. However, the units are not thought capable of providing protection to all of Israel.

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