Hamas Vows to Intensify Intifada, Calls for Clashes every Friday
The Palestinian militant group Hamas vowed Thursday to continue its uprising against Israel "by all possible means", and called for confrontations with Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers to take place every Friday.
"In these days of Jihad (holy war), splendid days of dignity, days of the martyrs and their celebrations, days of Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rage at the occupation and Zionist raids ... we confirm the continuation of the blessed Aqsa Intifada and increasing it by all possible means to vanquish the occupiers and defend Jerusalem," Hamas said in a statement.
The statement was issued only hours after a suicide attack on a Israeli army post in the Gaza Strip carried out by a man identified by Palestinian security as belonging to Hamas's smaller rival, Islamic Jihad.
The bomb-laden militant, riding a bike, slammed into an army post at a checkpoint used by Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip, killing himself and injuring one Israeli soldier.
"Fridays are to be days of vengeance, rage and great popular confrontations with the enemy army and herds of settlers. The rage marches are to leave from mosques after the midday prayers," the Hamas statement added.
A total of 140 people have been killed, nearly all of them Arabs, in nearly daily clashes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since a September 28 visit by Israel's hawkish opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem, Islam's third holiest shrine.
Israeli army operations chief Giora Eiland said on Wednesday the army had information that Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both violently opposed to the peace process, were about to carry out a major strike in the region.
The army said Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority had given the green light to the Gaza attack with the release of dozens of Islamic militants from its jails during the month-long Intifada or uprising.
Hamas called on Arafat to release all of its remaining detained activists.
The movement also urged Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab nations to have signed a peace treaty with the Jewish state, to cut relations with Israel and asked Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat not to hold a meeting with US President Bill Clinton.
Palestinian officials have said Arafat may meet early next month with Clinton, who is seeking to restore calm to the region and revive the collapsed Middle East peace process – GAZA CITY (AFP)
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