The Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas called Thursday for an "escalation" of the bloody five-week uprising against Israel and for Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers to be targeted in armed attacks.
In a statement issued in Gaza City, Hamas called on its supporters to "target enemy soldiers and settlers in every place and to escalate attacks with weapons and will all ways of the resistance."
It followed the announcement overnight of a truce reached between the Palestinian Authority and Israel aimed at ending the bloodshed that has claimed the lives of more than 170 people, most of them Palestinian.
Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is violently opposed to the peace process with Israel and is behind most deadly anti-Israeli attacks.
"Hamas calls on the people not to listen to this call to stop your blessed Intifada and to continue on the path of jihad (holy war) and resistance," it said.
"What was taken by force, must be returned by force," the Hamas statement said.
"Our people will not accept our martyrs to be the price of negotiations."
Senior Hamas official Ismail Abu Shanab earlier told AFP that the Intifada, or uprising, should continue until Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian lands.
"The Intifada of our people is to remove the occupation and when there is occupation, Hamas stays with the path of resistance until the end of occupation," he said.
"Any understanding that does not remove the occupation is not considered enough for Hamas and the Palestinian people. Hamas will continue the Intifada until ending the occupation," Abu Shanab added.
Hamas's smaller rival, Islamic Jihad, also called for the continuation of the Intifada in a statement issued in Damascus Thursday -- GAZA CITY (AFP)
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