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Hamas Threatens Israel Over Calls to Retake Gaza

Ismail Haniyeh tells rally Israel 'to pay high price' over further actions to defend itself.
By Tova Dvorin and AFP
First Publish: 3/23/2014, 4:42 PM

Hamas terrorists
Hamas terrorists
Flash 90

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh threatened Israel Sunday it would pay dearly if it heeded the growing calls to retake Gaza, according to AFP. 

"We tell the enemy and (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Liberman who is threatening to reoccupy Gaza that the time for your threats is over," Haniyeh declared, at a rally in Gaza City.  "Any aggression or crime or stupidity you commit will cost you a very high price."

Hamas's threats surface less than 24 hours after an IDF raid in Jenin - involving the Police's SWAT team, the Border Police, and the ISA or Shin Bet - killed senior Hamas terrorist Hamza Abu Alheja, 20. 

An Islamic Jihad terrorist and a rioter were also killed in the clashes, which erupted after Jenin residents rioted at IDF soldiers.

In response, a joint statement from Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad was released threatening revenge; hundreds of Israelis and journalists were sent "warnings" from Hamas through emails and text messages hours later. 

"Ten years ago, Ismail Ahmed Yassin, our leader, was killed by three missiles as he left a mosque after morning prayers," said an email message to hundreds of Israelis - including Arutz Sheva's news team. "This is a reminder that we do not forget our Sheikh's blood on your hands. We vow once again that we will take revenge, and cut off the heads of your commanders."

"Missiles killed our Sheikh and now, our missiles will hit every place in the State of Israel," it continues. "Know that the next war will see the end of your country." 

Self-Defense

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated in his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday that the raid was not only self-defense, but that it was a warning against terrorists who continue to threaten Israel's security. 

"Over the weekend, our forces struck at a terrorist who had organized attacks on Israelis and was also planning attacks on innocent civilians," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting.  

"Our policy is to attack those who attack us and who are planning to attack us," the Prime Minister's Office quoted him as saying. "Both were applicable in this case."

Tensions Rising

Tensions have stepped up between Israel and Hamas on several fronts over the past several weeks.

Earlier this month, Israel apprehended a weapons ship carrying missiles from Iran to Gaza, exposing the cargo for the world to see. Hamas retaliated with exceptional bravado, claiming the next war will see missiles rain down on the Golan Heights. 

Last week, tensions heightened further when Islamic Jihad terrorists fired a barrage of over 60 rockets into Israel, in what they called "Operation Breaking the Silence." The IDF retaliated by taking out known terror targets in Gaza, holding Islamic Jihad responsible for the rocket fire and Hamas responsible for allowing the rocket fire to continue on its territory. 

The IDF also uncovered a crucial Hamas terror tunnel late Thursday, which experts say shows signs of being highly advanced and having recently been used. Hamas scoffed at the reports, calling them "false achievements."