GAZA CITY, Palestine : Palestinian group Hamas on Sunday vowed a “forceful” response to any Israeli assassination attempt against its leaders.
“The confused Zionist enemy […] must understand that any harm against the resistance leaders will be responded to forcefully and decisively,” Hamas said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened Sunday that Hamas leaders will pay the “full price” for attacks against Israelis.
His threat came one day after Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri said the Israeli government will suffer a “resounding defeat, which would lead to their withdrawal from the entire West Bank.”
“The leaders of the occupation government, with their extremist policies, will cause an all-out war in the region,” the Hamas leader told the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV channel.
Speaking of al-Arouri, Netanyahu said that: “He knows well why he and his friends are in hiding.”
Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said Saturday that al-Arouri might be at the top of the Israeli assassination list.
Hamas termed the Israeli threats to assassinate al-Arouri or any group leaders as “hollow threats that will not succeed in weakening the resistance.”
On Aug. 22, Israel’s security cabinet gave Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant absolute power to take any decision related to targeting Palestinian gunmen.
On Saturday, Palestinian group Hamas claimed responsibility for a shooting attack that killed two Israeli settlers near Nablus last week.
Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns along with attacks and assaults carried out by Israeli settlers who are usually guarded by the Israeli army.
More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of this year, according to the Health Ministry. At least 34 Israelis – soldiers and settlers – have also been killed in Palestinian attacks during the same period, marking the highest figure of Israeli fatalities since 2005. — AA