JERUSALEM – A truce Hamas made with Israel in Gaza last November is “officially over,” Hamas leaders told WND today, threatening to send suicide bombers into Tel Aviv if the Jewish state retaliates for a major attack carried out this morning.
“We don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. We will never allow Jews to remain in our lands. Today’s attack was only a sample of what we can do. We have thousands of rockets ready to be shot. The cease-fire is officially over,” said Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military wing.
In the first rocket attack it claimed responsibility for in five months, Hamas earlier today fired 39 Qassam rockets and 79 mortars from the Gaza Strip aimed at nearby Jewish communities. The projectiles were meant to be a diversion as the group attempted to storm an Israeli military base on the Gaza border to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
The attacks occurred as Israelis nationwide celebrated the country’s Independence Day.
The Israel Defense Forces thwarted the kidnap attempt and dispatched helicopters to intercept the gunmen behind it. Missiles were fired at Qassam launch pads in Gaza. The IDF at first said only 10 rockets were fired by Hamas in today’s attack but later admitted “dozens” of Qassams were launched.
IDF sources said the military’s response to today’s Hamas attacks will be limited.
Hamas’ Abu Abdullah threatened if Israel raided Gaza “the Zionists will be entering hell. We are preparing a major cemetery for them. We will step up attacks, including dispatching suicide bombers to Tel Aviv.”
Following today’s attack, the Hamas-led Palestinian government issued a statement calling for calm. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh claimed his government would dedicate efforts to convince Palestinian factions to maintain the truce with Israel.
But Abu Abdullah told WND today’s attacks were coordinated with the Hamas political leadership.
He said Hamas used the cease-fire to stockpile weaponry and train for attacks against the Jewish state.
In November, Israel agreed to a truce with Gaza militants in which the Jewish state vowed to suspend anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip in exchange for quiet. Since then, more than 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza, but the IDF largely has restrained itself from operating in the territory.
Hamas has not taken responsibility for rocket attacks the past five months, but Israel says the group has been passing rockets on to other Palestinian organizations to carry out attacks. Hamas last month took credit for a shooting attack at the Gaza border.
Days after the Nov. 23 truce was made, Hamas leaders in Gaza granted a series of exclusive interviews to WND in which they said the new agreement would be used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip; reinforce and train “fighter units”; and produce rockets for a future confrontation with the Jewish state.
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