Kassam Sderot 88,224.
(photo credit: )
Hamas on Wednesday remained as defiant as ever and said it would continue to fire rockets at Israel as an act of "self-defense."
Hamas also mocked what it described as the "state of confusion" in Israel over how to react to the latest spree of rocket and mortar attacks.
The movement also claimed that the Egyptians had given Israel a "green light" to launch a limited military operation in the Gaza Strip to overthrow the Hamas government.
"Israel will pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinians," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. "Israel's actions enhance our determination to pursue the path of resistance through all means available."
Barhoum said that Hamas has placed all its security forces and militias on high alert to thwart an IDF invasion of the Gaza Strip.
The armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam, said it would not be deterred by Israel's threats of a military operation. The group also threatened to expand the range of its rockets and missiles so that they would reach more Israeli communities.
"We won't succumb to the logic of threats made by the Zionist war criminals," the group said in a leaflet. "Today we are prepared more than ever to foil any aggression against our people."
The Hamas wing also warned that if Israel carried out its threats it would face a "volcano of fury that would turn the Zionists' tears into blood."
Boasting that it had fired dozens of rockets and mortars at Israeli towns in the past few days, the group pointed out that Israel was "hopeless and desperate" because it doesn't know what to do to stop the attacks.
"The enemy is in a state of confusion and doesn't know what to do," the leaflet read. "Their fragile cabinet has met in a desperate attempt to stop the rockets while thousands of settlers have found refuge in shelters which, by God's will, will become their permanent homes."
Hamas legislator and spokesman Mushir al-Masri said Wednesday's rocket attacks on Ashkelon and nearby communities were a warning message to Israel as to what awaits it when and if it decides to enter the Gaza Strip.
He too threatened that Israel would pay a "heavy price" if it launched an attack.
"Israel's threats don't scare us," he said. "We're not afraid of assassinations and invasions and we are prepared to sacrifice our leaders."
Al-Masri held Israel responsible for the collapse of the cease-fire by refusing to reopen the border crossings into the Gaza Strip and pursuing its policy of targeting Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank.
In another development, a top Hamas official in Gaza City told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that the Egyptians have given Israel a "green light" to target Hamas figures and installations.
The official claimed that Egyptian Intelligence Chief Gen. Omar Suleiman told Defense Ministry envoy Amos Gilad last week that Cairo would not oppose a "limited operation" that would lead to the downfall of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
The allegation by the Hamas official followed a report in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, in which Suleiman was quoted as saying that the time has come to "teach the Hamas leaders a good lesson."
Citing "informed" Palestinian sources, the report added that Suleiman made it clear to Gilad that Egypt was not opposed to a limited operation that would bring down the Hamas regime.
The report said that Suleiman was furious with Hamas because of the movement's last-minute decision to boycott a "national reconciliation" conference he was planning to convene in Cairo in early November.
According to the newspaper, Suleiman referred to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal as the head of a "gang" and said told Gilad that Cairo would like to see the movement's leaders punished.
"The Hamas leaders have become very arrogant," the report quoted the Egyptian official as saying. "It's time to teach these leaders a lesson so that they would wake up from their dreams."
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