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A top Hamas leader mocked the Israel Defense Forces, declaring they are fighting “divine soldiers” who love death.

“Today you [Israelis] are fighting divine soldiers, who love death for Allah like you love life, and who compete among themselves for Martyrdom like you flee from death,” said Hamas Chief of Staff Muhammad Deif in a recorded statement broadcast Wednesday by Al Aqsa TV, the Hamas channel.

Palestinian Media Watch, which translated the statement and posted video of it, noted Deif is commander of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. The terrorist group is responsible of the death of hundreds of Israeli civilians in suicide bombings and other terror attacks.

Hamas TV also broadcast Wednesday a previous declaration by former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

“We love death like our enemies love life!” he said. “We love martyrdom, the way in which [Hamas] leaders died.”

Israel began July 8 with an operation to end the Hamas campaign to fire rockets into Israeli civilian areas. The mission expanded July 17 with the aim of dismantling a network of cross-border tunnels through which Hamas has been smuggling weapons and sending terrorists into Israel.

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