Gazans celebrate the 27th anniversary of Hamas' founding.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas has 100,000 gunmen who are prepared to “liberate Palestine,” a Hamas official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
The announcement came amid mounting tensions between Hamas and Islamic State supporters in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has arrested dozens of Salafi-jihadists who are affiliated with Islamic State, sources in the Gaza Strip said. They said the arrests came following a series of bombings, which were reportedly carried out by the Salafi-jihadists in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Hamas demolished a mosque
frequented by Islamic State supporters in Deir el-Balah.
Hamas said that the mosque was a tent, and not a concrete structure, that was used by the extremists as a meeting venue.
Islamic State supporters have accused Hamas of waging a massive crackdown on their men. They issued a warning to Hamas to release the arrested men within 72 hours or face the repercussions of its actions.
The Salafi-jihadists also issued a warning to several top Hamas security officials in the Gaza Strip who are responsible for the crackdown.
Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas representative in the Gaza Strip, said that the Palestinian “resistance” would continue to carry weapons in order to achieve its goal of “liberating Palestine and expelling the last Zionist soldier from our lands.”
Bahr was speaking during a rally held by Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, and “department of refugees.”
Noting that Hamas has 100,000 men who are ready to “liberate Palestine,” Bahr said that the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees is nonnegotiable.
He said that “anyone who makes concessions on the rights of the refugees would be committing high treason.”