The Islamic Resistance movement Hamas threatened revenge Monday for five members killed the previous day by an Israeli commando unit in the West Bank, saying Israel "will pay dearly for this crime."
"The blood of our martyrs will not be spilled in vain .. the Zionist enemy will pay dearly for this crime and for all the other crimes it has committed before against our people," Hamas said in a statement issued in Gaza City.
"May the enemy know its repeated crimes will never hurt our will and determination to pursue the Intifada," the statement said, threatening that "Israeli soldiers and settlers are targets of the resistance."
A senior official of the movement said earlier in the day that four of the five Palestinians killed Sunday in an ambush carried out by an Israeli commando unit near the village of Habla in the northern West Bank were members of Hamas.
In a separate statement with a particularly threatening tone, the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades, warned that its fighters "will hit hard and that their action will not be stopped by a blockade or other security measures" imposed since the start of the Intifada in Palestinian areas.
"We will give the Israeli leaders a lesson that they will never forget," the statement added from the group which Friday claimed responsibility for the attack two days earlier that killed two Israelis in Hadera north of Tel Aviv.
The Israeli army said the five Palestinians killed in Sunday's ambush belonged to the militia wing of Yasser Arafat's faction, Fateh, which it blames for spearheading attacks against Jewish settlers over the past two months of deadly unrest that has claimed the lives of some 290 people.
But a Fateh official in the Qalqilya area where the incident took place, Ahmed Hazea, denied that they were Fatah members, and Jamal Mansour, a Hamas leader in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, said four for the five killed were Hamas members but that they were not part of its military wing.
He said they were civilians – GAZA CITY (AFP)
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