Hamas threatens Israeli public figures

Organization vows revenge if Israel targets Hamas political leaders.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
A Hamas spokesman said Sunday noon that if Israel would harm any of the movement's political leaders, the organization would have the moral justification to harm one of Israel's public or political figures, Israel Radio said. Earlier Sunday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during Sunday's cabinet meeting that "no one has immunity" in the Palestinian Authority, hinting that political leaders could also be targeted. Immediately after the cabinet meeting, Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan said that "Haniyeh will pay with his head if a hair on the head of Gilad Schalit is harmed." Earlier, on Saturday, Hamas's armed wing said that Israel can forget about the release of kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit if it targets the Islamist movement's senior leaders. "The Zionist enemy must understand one message - that it can only dream of getting Gilad Schalit and forget about him completely if it assassinates a political or military leader of Hamas," said Abu Obaida, a spokesman for Izaddin Kassam, Hamas's armed wing and one of three groups holding Schalit in the Gaza Strip. A senior official in Jerusalem dismissed the Hamas threat regarding Schalit, vowing that Israel would not be held hostage to terrorist threats and would continue to act to defend its citizens. "Israel will pursue the return of Gilad Schalit as if there are no rocket attacks," the source said, "and pursue terrorists as if there was no Gilad Schalit." Abu Obaida also said that Hamas planned to abduct more IDF soldiers and to carry out suicide bombings "in the near future." Hamas, he added, was preparing a harsh response in the event that Israel killed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. "We are continuously developing our methods of resistance," Abu Obaida said. "It's only a matter of time before our rockets reach targets beyond Ashkelon. The Zionist attacks will not destroy the Palestinian resistance. Hamas has remained strong despite the assassination of many of its leaders in the past." Haniyeh said on Saturday that Israel was waging a "real war against the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." This war, he said, was aimed at "forcing our people to succumb to external dictates." Haniyeh appealed to the Arab world to urgently move to halt "Israeli massacres" against the Palestinians. Representatives of several armed groups in the Gaza Strip reiterated their opposition to a renewed cease-fire as long as Israel continued to attack Hamas figures and installations.