Hamas Prepares For Israeli Invasion

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HAMAS yesterday vowed to avenge the deaths of its fighters and civilians in the Gaza Strip as Israel launched a full-scale attack on Gaza, killing 13 and injuring over 100 in 24 hours.

Hamas officials said yesterday they were preparing for the worst as Israeli tanks massed on their border.

‘The resistance’s options are now open and they include suicide attacks and quality attacks in Israeli cities,’ top Hamas commander Ismail al-Ashkar said.

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in several armoured vehicles stormed Daheria village in Al-Khalil yesterday, igniting clashes with young men.

Local witnesses said that young men threw stones at the invading troops who fired tear gas bombs and stun grenades at the protesters.

They said that the IOF soldiers were deployed along the main road in the village and set up a roadblock near Kharsa village, south of Al-Khalil.

The funeral took place yesterday of Hamas’ leading military commander, Ahmad al-Jaabari, who was killed in an Israeli drone strike on Wednesday.

Mosques across Gaza were packed with mourners vowing revenge. The streets outside the hospital where Al-Jaabari’s body was taken were filled with thousands of angry Palestinians chanting ‘We want you to hit Tel Aviv tonight’.

Gaza’s Health Minister Dr Mufeed Mkhallalati said a total of ten people were killed on Wednesday, including Al-Jaabari.

Forty-five people were injured, ten of them are in a critical condition. An 11-month-old and a 6-year-old girl were among the dead.

Hamas spokesman Khalil Al Haya vowed that the Zionist enemy would ‘pay a price for these cowardly assassinations’.

He added that, ‘the Zionist enemy knows nothing but the language of killing and blood; our battle with the enemy is an open battle; God willing, this battle will end with Palestine and Jerusalem liberated.

‘They should wait for our action, not words.’

Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said the assassination of Al-Jaabari will not ‘break the will of our people, nor weaken our resistance’.

Meanwhile, France’s foreign minister has said he will discuss supplying arms to the Syrian opposition being organised by NATO to overthrow Syria’s President Assad.

Laurent Fabius said: ‘For the moment, there is an embargo, so there are no arms being delivered from the European side. The issue will no doubt be raised for defensive arms.’

UK foreign minister Haig said: ‘We will be meeting with leaders of the opposition in Syria to discuss with them making a clear plan for a political transition in Syria.’

France is the first Western power to recognise the self-styled National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the Syrian people’s ‘legitimate representative’.

Coalition representatives are due to hold meetings in London and Paris.