Spokesman says group will make "holy weapons," another warns demands for Schalit may increase.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
A day after Hamas announced a truce with Israel, a spokesman for Izzadin Kassam, the group's military wing, stressed that Hamas would rearm, despite efforts to stop weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip.
"Do what you like, but manufacturing holy weapons is our goal," masked spokesman Abu Obaida said at a Gaza press conference on Monday.
"Bringing arms into Gaza is not smuggling. The natural situation would be for all Arab and Muslim countries, along with the rest of the free world, to officially allow weapons into the Strip... Meanwhile, we believe it is our right to bring arms in any way we see fit," the Hamas spokesman told reporters.
Abu Obaida went on to claim that only 48 of the group's gunmen were killed during Israel's three-week military operation in the Gaza Strip.
While Israel has reported that at least 500 of the 1,300 Palestinians killed in Gaza were terrorists, Hamas claimed that only several dozen of its men died in the fighting.
The terror group's spokesman also claimed that Hamas had killed 80 IDF soldiers in the fighting.
Also on Monday, Mushir al-Masri, another spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, said that the terror group would not lower its demands for returning captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit following the three-week war with Israel, and may even increase its demands.
"We are in a powerful, victorious position," he told Israel Radio. "Israel will soon learn that the balance of power has changed in Hamas's favor."
An unnamed Hamas source told the radio station that Hamas had gained popularity in light of the war with Israel. "The people are not angry with Hamas, and the group will rebuild every home that was damaged," he said.
The unnamed source assessed that between 150 and 200 Palestinian gunmen, including Hamas fighters, were killed during the IDF's Operation Cast Lead.
On Sunday, hours after its leaders declared that they would continue to fight, Hamas announced a one-week cease-fire and issued an ultimatum to Israel to withdraw IDF troops from the Strip within that time.
The announcement was made by Hamas officials in Syria. Later, Hamas representatives in the Gaza Strip issued a statement in which they said they would honor the cease-fire.
The announcement came 12 hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced a unilateral cease-fire that went into effect at 2 a.m. on Sunday.
On Sunday night, Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, called the group's decision to declare a truce "wise and responsible."
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