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Report: Iran denies supplying Fajr-5 rockets to Gaza militants

Nov. 18, 2012 11:03 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 18, 2012 6:40 A.M.)
DUBAI (Reuters) -- A senior Iranian lawmaker denied his country had supplied militants in Gaza with missiles capable of hitting Israel's commercial center, Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam television reported.

Hamas' armed wing said on Sunday it had launched Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets at Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial center, about 70 km north of Gaza, in the fourth rocket attack on the city since Wednesday.

Israeli police said a rocket was intercepted mid-air by an Israeli anti-missile battery and caused no casualties or damage.

Israel's enemy Iran, which supports and arms Hamas, has condemned the offensive begun by the Israeli army as "organized terrorism".

But Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, said Israeli claims that Iran was supplying rockets were unfounded, according to a report posted on Al Alam's website on Saturday evening.

The militants were self-sufficient and in no need of weapons from outside their territory, he added, according to Al Alam.

With its 75 km-range and a 175 kg warhead - powerful enough to shear through a concrete apartment block - the Fajr is a prestige weapon for Hamas, which is massively outgunned by Israel's technologically superior military.

By putting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in reach of Palestinian fighters, the Fajrs are also potential strategic game-changers that could draw even fiercer Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The Israelis say they have destroyed around 20 of the rockets on the ground and only a few remain in the Gaza arsenals.
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