Gaza City: Gaza`s Hamas rulers have suffered back-to-back setbacks with Israel`s successful test of a rocket shield and Egypt`s push to block smuggling tunnels.
The Iron Dome rocket defence system, reportedly to be deployed near Gaza in May, would deprive Hamas of its main leverage against Israel - the threat of rocket salvos. Egypt`s underground anti-tunnel barrier of steel beams, now under construction, could eventually cut Hamas` supply of cash and weapons.
The looming double squeeze is poised to limit Hamas` options and change the rules of engagement on Gaza`s volatile, blockaded borders.
However, the Islamic militants remain firmly entrenched in the territory they seized from their Western-backed Fatah rivals in 2007.
Hamas has already struck back against the steel wall by trying to rally public opinion against Egypt and experts warn Hamas could attempt to renew suicide attacks in Israel if rockets are intercepted.
Hamas "can adjust to any new circumstances," said Ahmed Yousef, an official in the group, without giving specifics. He said more pressure on the movement would only make it more popular.
In recent years, Hamas, Israel and Egypt have been locked in a violent impasse.