Hamas threatened Israel on Thursday evening and warned that it will pay a "high price" for launching a ground assault on Gaza.
"The start of the Israeli ground attack on Gaza is a dangerous step, the consequences of which have not been calculated," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement quoted by AFP.
"Israel will pay a high price and Hamas is ready for the confrontation," he declared.
"With this action the Israeli government seeks to restore the morale of its soldiers and the morale of its army leadership - a leadership that is collapsing because of the qualitative blows of the resistance,” Barhoum claimed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said earlier Thursday that the ground assault on Gaza was meant to hit the terrorist tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory, and noted that the operation was a direct result of Hamas’s refusal to accept Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire.
Barhoum’s threats came several hours after Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of foreign affairs in Hamas, threatened that Hamas has additional “surprises” in store for Israel.
"In the next campaign,” he promised, “we plan to manufacture larger missiles, and we will plan the liberation of the land (inside Israel) and its annexation to the liberated territory (in Gaza) and we will attack them by land.”