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Hamas spokesman in his own words January 5, 2009

Posted by ibrahimbaba in Uncategorized.

Sun 4 Jan 2009, 13:39 GMT

GAZA, Jan 4 (Reuters) – Abu Ubaida, spokesman for Hamas‘s armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, answered questions about the fierce fighting on Sunday between his group and Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip:

— Can you give us an update on the fighting so far?

“The operation is still in its beginning stage and the Mujahedeen (Hamas fighters) are in position and are trying to prevent Zionist (Israeli) forces from advancing.

“So far, the Zionist forces are located in areas on the edges… We have been able to hit a tank … and more surprises are awaiting the invaders.

“We also believe several Israeli soldiers were killed and dozens were wounded since the ground aggression began last night… The enemy will be taught a painful lesson.”

— Was Hamas caught off guard by the ground offensive, which started on Saturday?

“We were not surprised at all. We anticipated the ground attack and we have been prepared.”

Israel said it will not end the operation until Hamas stops firing cross-border rockets?

“The Zionist occupation will lose the battle. The occupation has been retreating from its goals from the campaign since it started. First they said they aimed to topple the Hamas government, then they said, no, they wanted to weaken it, and now they claim they want to stop the rockets.

“All these goals will fail and the occupation will quit our areas defeated and humiliated.”

— Can you confirm that Hamas captured two Israeli soldiers?

“I can neither confirm nor deny that at this stage?”

— Will Israel’s offensive affect Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured in a cross-border raid in 2006?

“It may have a negative influence.”

— Where are Hamas’s leaders, have they gone underground?

“Hamas leaders are in the field and they are leading the battle against the occupation forces and they love martyrdom more than our enemies love to live.

“The martyrdom of Sheikh Nizar Rayyan was proof that Hamas leaders do not hide.

“The enemy’s allegations that Hamas leaders were in hiding were part of the psychological warfare. I say the Israeli leaders have gone underground after Hamas officials threatened to target them to avenge the killing of Sheikh Nizar Rayyan.”

— Could the Qassam Brigades go after Israeli officials?

“We say all options are open, including targeting occupation officials.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military offensive was against Hamas, not Palestinians living in Gaza . Do you have a message for the Israeli people?

“I say to them: You have been unjust to yourselves by supporting this war against innocent people in Gaza . Your leaders have fooled you in order to make political gains and harvest more seats (in parliament.)

“In the end, you are the ones who will pay for the crimes committed by your leaders. I say to the Israelis, you will pay a heavy price.”

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Samia Nakhoul)



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