Hamas Vows to Respond to Israel's 'War' against Palestinians
The Islamic militant group Hamas vowed on Tuesday to respond to what it considers Israel's "war" against the Palestinians after almost three weeks of bloodshed.
"When (Israeli Prime Minister Ehud) Barak wages war on our people, he must expect war on his people," senior Hamas official Ismail Abu Shanab told AFP in Gaza City.
Israel is bracing for terror attacks by Hamas, which opposes peace with the Jewish state and has carried out a string of suicide bombings against its civilians since the signing of the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
"I say our people will not stand silent over these crimes and will respond to the Israeli assaults in kind so the blood of the martyrs will not have run for nothing," Abu Shanab added.
More than 100 people have been killed in the nearly three weeks of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, nearly all of them Palestinians.
US President Bill Clinton announced Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had agreed to end 20 days of spiraling violence and resume the faltering peace process.
Asked if Hamas would respond "militarily" to what many Palestinians call Israeli "aggressions," Abu Shanab said: "This is without a doubt and we ask God that it will be soon, but I cannot say when or how because this is up to the military wing (of Hamas)."
Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority has released over the past month most of the dozens of Hamas militants it had held in its jails, including members of the military wing.
Israel has called on them to be re-arrested.
Abu Shanab acknowledged that some arrests had been made and more arrest warrants issued, but did not provide further details - GAZA CITY (AFP)
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