The EQB and other armed groups are using a variety of weapons to strike Israel. In this conflict they have introduced for the first time in battle the Iranian Fajr-5 rocket, which has a 175 kilogram warhead and a range of 75 kilometers. The EQB also claims to have produced an "M75" rocket of similar range, possibly a copy or derivative of the Fajr-5. How many of these long-range weapons the armed groups have is unknown. Some have already been fired and Israel claims to have destroyed many others in air attacks. Also new to this round of fighting is the extensive use of multiple rocket launchers, deployed both on the ground and on trucks. This is an attempt by the EQB and others to increase the rate of rocket fire, probably to saturate the Iron Dome system. The EQB is also using a variety of mortars to fire on targets close to the border, as they did in 2009 and in subsequent clashes with Israel.
Hamas also claims to be using shoulder fired surface-to-air missiles, likely acquired from Libya, to engage Israeli aircraft. This would be a tactical improvement since 2009. The EQB even says it has downed Israeli aircraft in recent days, but nothing has been officially confirmed. The IDF did carry out a targeted killing of Mohammed Kaleb, Hamas's head of air defense, suggesting that it takes this threat seriously.
Little is known about current Hamas readiness for an Israeli ground incursion, but history suggests that they are at least somewhat prepared. After the failures of the last war, Hamas has devoted substantial resources to improving the EQB's combat readiness through better training and newer weapons. They are now thought to have sophisticated anti-tank guided missiles (the Russian designed Coronet) and rocket propelled grenades (RPG-29 and RPG-7 with tandem warheads). This represents a potentially significant upgrade of their combat capabilities from the last war. Of course, these capabilities have yet to be tested in battle.
Nonetheless, Hamas and the other groups are probably approaching the limit of their ability to strike Israel. They may still be able to fire at high volume for short periods, but it is likely that the overall number of rockets fired will decrease as stocks are depleted, the rocket logistical system is disrupted, and launch crews are killed and wounded. Daily totals have already begun to slip significantly. Hamas will likely try to keep firing -- even at reduced capacity -- and shoot off small numbers of long-range rockets aimed at Tel Aviv and perhaps Jerusalem. It also promises operational "surprises." Still, Hamas' best hope is that a ceasefire will end the exchange of strikes before it runs out of rockets or Israel launches a ground attack. That would constitute at least a qualified victory for Hamas.
Failing a ceasefire, it is likely that the conflict will escalate into something resembling Operation Cast Lead. Continuing rocket fire, even if at lower levels of intensity, will push the Israeli government toward ground operations in Gaza. In this event, Israel may not be satisfied with simply ending rocket fire. It may well attempt to inflict a much more punishing blow against Hamas and its political and military structure in Gaza, all the more so because a majority of Israelis appear to support an expansion of the war. To strike a lasting blow at Hamas, however, Israel will have to mount a substantial ground offensive inside Gaza and maintain it long enough to destroy Hamas' facilities and forces. Still, it would be virtually impossible for Israel to permanently eliminate Hamas' military capability, meaning that we could be looking at yet another iteration of this conflict a few years from now.