Hamas leader threatens to attack 'settlements'

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar: If Israel attacks Gaza, we'll attack the settlements inside Israel.

Dalit Halevi ,

Mahmoud al-Zahar
Mahmoud al-Zahar
Wissam Nassar/Flash 90

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar on Sunday warned the IDF against operating in Gaza in response to the “March of the Return”, in which Gazans are marching en masse toward the border with Israel.

In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Felesteen, Zahar said that "Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wants to send a message of intimidation, but he knows that we are not afraid."

Asked about the possibility of an Israeli attack in Gaza, Zahar replied, "The message is clear, an eye for an eye. If it attacks inside Gaza, we will attack the settlements that are deep inside Israel."

"The Palestinian people are the guide today, because the Palestinian people are stronger than any organization and the roots of the people are stronger than the 1967 borders and stronger than the 1948 borders," Zahar continued.

"Among the Palestinian, Arab and Israeli leadership there are those who believe that the (Palestinian) people have forgotten their land. The Palestinian people today emphasize that they have not forgotten a single inch of Palestine and will not give up any holy place in it, and we will not stop the resistance until we realize this goal," he threatened.

Tensions along the Israel-Gaza border have worsened in recent weeks, following the beginning of six weeks of violent demonstrations and attempted infiltrations into Israel along the Gaza security fence.

On March 30, rioters kicked off the “March of the Return” demonstrations, which drew tens of thousands in clashes with IDF forces along the border.

According to Gaza health officials, 29 rioters have been killed during the clashes with the IDF, with close to 3,000 more wounded.

The IDF has reported that at least 12 of the rioters killed in the disturbances are terrorists with known ties to the Hamas organization, while others approached the security fence and attempted to cross into Israel, despite warnings by the IDF prior to the riots.

On Sunday, several terrorists from Gaza infiltrated Israel through the security fence near northern Gaza, resulting in the IDF launching an artillery barrage on terrorist positions in the region.

Later on Sunday, IDF troops located two explosive devices placed by the terrorists.