Palestinian Hamas fighters once tried in vain to copy Israel’s iconic submachine gun, the Uzi. Twenty years on, their homemade rockets streak more than 100 km (60 miles) from Gaza toward the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

At least 180 Palestinians have died in eight days of cross-border fighting between the guerrillas and the vastly stronger Israeli military. Israel has so far suffered one fatality, but this contrast in casualties has not detracted from Hamas’s pride in its technical progress.

The variety and range of its rocket arsenal – both closely guarded secrets – have steadily improved since Hamas Islamists emerged as an underground militant group in 1987. […]