JERUSALEM – In an exclusive interview with WorldNetDaily yesterday, Hamas senior spokesman Sami Abu Zahri taunted Israel for its vulnerability to rocket attacks and warned that the terrorist group plans to kidnap more Israeli citizens just days after it claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder of a Jerusalem resident.
Zahri also told WND Hamas maintains “good relationships” with Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
“Our relations are good with all the honest forces in the Arab world and this includes Assad’s Syria, Hezbollah and other movements and forces,” Zuhri said in the interview, which will be released in full on WND this weekend.
Zahri claimed Israel does not have the military capability to stop Hamas’ Qassam rockets from flying out of Gaza and hitting nearby Jewish communities.
“Israel has always tried to stop Qassam attacks and she always failed to do so, even while using the most sophisticated technological and military tools. … Hamas succeeded in creating a new military equation against Israel.”
Israel withdrew the last of its troop from the Gaza Strip Sept. 12. Since then, Palestinian groups, including Hamas, have fired more than 25 rockets at Jewish towns near the Gaza border.
Following Israel’s assassination this week of a senior Islamic Jihad commander, Hamas’ Gaza leader Mahmoud al-Zohar vowed to halt all attacks from Gaza.
But Zuhri said Hamas will only cease rocket attacks “as long as the enemy [Israel] is committed to stopping its escalation.”
Zuhri took the occasion of the interview to again blame Israel for an explosion at a Hamas victory rally in Gaza last week that killed 21 people, even though the Palestinian Authority Tuesday announced Hamas mistakenly caused the blast.
“The Israeli occupation is fully responsible for the rally massacre,” Zuhri said. “Photos show and prove that an Israeli aircraft was flying above the area where the rally was happening. Also the rockets we bring to our rallies never contain live explosives.” .
A PA probe found Hamas members who mishandled homemade rockets were responsible for the rally explosion, which Hamas reportedly then used as pretext for launching a barrage of Qassam rockets against Israeli Negev communities.
Hamas this week admitted to kidnapping and killing Jerusalem resident Sasson Nuriel, releasing a video of Hamas members interrogating the Jewish merchant with a blindfold strapped around his head.
Zuhri warned Hamas will kidnap more Israelis unless Palestinian prisoners are freed and the Jewish state ceases to arrest wanted Hamas militants.
“This kidnapping is part of the resistance to the occupation and is part of our struggle to free the Palestinian prisoners,” he said. “We gave Israel many opportunities to free our prisoners, which was supposed to be part of the [February] cease fire agreement [between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon] … but the occupier did not respect this and continues to carry our prisoners to their jails.
“Therefore if we will not succeed in getting our prisoners freed in peaceful ways and through negotiations, we will do everything necessary to liberate them, including kidnapping more Israelis.”