Hamas vows to teach the Israeli army a ”lesson it will not forget”
The armed wing of ruling Palestinian movement Hamas has threatened to teach the Israeli army a "lesson it will not forget" should the army expand an offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades declared it had the "means and arms necessary to confront the Zionist enemy with all our force if it proceeds (further) with military operations in the Gaza Strip".
A top security official quoted Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz as telling a parliamentary committee on Monday that there was no option but to expand the Gaza Strip operation "in order to prevent Gaza from turning into southern Lebanon."
"Nobody wants such an operation deep in Palestinian territory but there can be no other option if Hamas continues to arm itself and stage attacks against Israel," he was quoted as telling the foreign affairs and defence committee.
On its part, Hamas' armed wing accused Israel of "using such allegations to justify criminal operations it seems to have decided to wage in the Gaza Strip".
"It is our right to hold whatever weapons (we need) to defend our people since the enemy does not hesitate before using all sorts of weapons, banned by international conventions, against innocent Palestinian civilians".
"If the enemy decides to go towards a large confrontation with Hamas, we will be up to this challenge and are totally ready to resist. We have finished preparations to teach the Zionist enemy a lesson it will not forget," it added.