Hamas: Assassination is a declaration of war

Abbas, Erekat condemn "brutal aggression" against Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
The assassination of top Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari is a declaration of war, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Islamist movement, said on Wednesday.
Barhoum’s statement came as Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, vowed to avenge the killing of its commander and threatened to send missiles into the heart of Israel, including Tel Aviv.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli military operation and called to save the residents of the Gaza Strip from war. He also asked for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the Israeli “aggression.”
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said the PA held Israel responsible for the “brutal aggression” against the Strip. “The occupation has committed a grave crime and crossed all red lines,” Hamas’s Barhoum said.
“This is a real declaration of war. The enemy will pay a heavy price for its crime and will regret the moment it thought of perpetrating it.”
Barhoum said Israel had initiated a war with Hamas and other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip, “but it does not know how it will end.” The armed wing of Hamas would launch retaliatory attacks against Israel, he said.
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Khalil Hayeh, a senior Hamas official, told reporters at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where Jabarai’s body was being held, that Izzadin Kassam’s response would come very soon.
“This is not the time for talk, but for action,” he said.
Israel had “opened the gates of hell” for itself by assassinating Jabari, the Izzadin Kassam group said.
The Hamas government mourned the death of Jabari, whom it described as a Palestinian “resistance leader and one of the most prominent symbols of resistance.”
It held Israel fully responsible for the repercussions.
Several other Palestinian groups also threatened to avenge the killing of Jabari.
Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said his men would launch attacks against Israel “in the next few hours.” He, too, said the assassination was an Israeli “declaration of war.”