Hamas is taking Israel’s threats to launch a military operation in the Gaza Strip seriously, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said on Saturday.

Warning Israel against launching such an attack, Zahar said that Hamas was ready “for the battle with the occupation.”

Israel did not need any excuse to attack the Strip, such as the firing of rockets at Israeli communities, “because it is doing so continuously through air raids and invasions,” he said.

Zahar, who was speaking at a seminar in the Gaza Strip, said that Hamas has “enough methods to inflict pain on Israel” in case it launched a military operation.

Zahar also criticized the Palestinian Authority for failing to end the dispute with Hamas.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah are unable to implement reconciliation agreements that were reached with Hamas in the past few years, he added.

Zahar accused Abbas of avoiding reconciliation by planning local elections and arresting Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

The local elections are expected to be held on October 20. Hamas decided to boycott the vote, leaving Fatah alone to run against independent candidates and representatives of small groups.

Zahar said that Hamas would not participate in the elections because “these are forged elections.”

The Hamas leader praised Hezbollah for sending a drone to Israel last week – an act which he described as a “strategic achievement.”

Iran and Hezbollah were successfully launching a political and psychological battle against Israel, said Zahar.

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