Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Az-Zahar claimed victory for Hamas on Monday, saying Hamas had succeeded in “destroying Israel's sense of security” with its rocket attacks. Zahar made his proclamation in video footage sent from a secret hideout, where he is taking shelter in order to avoid being targeted in an IAF strike. Other Hamas leaders have gone into hiding as well.

Zahar directed his message to Hamas' troops, and promised them victory over the IDF. “We must be patient until we are victorious, Allah will help us,” he said. Hundreds of Hamas terrorists have been killed since the “Cast Lead” operation began last week, including 100 since the start of Israel's ground operation, and several of the group's senior leaders have been assassinated. Dozens have been taken prisoner as well.

The Hamas leader called to murder Israelis and Jews worldwide, including children. “The Israelis have sentenced their children to death... They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world,” he said. Hamas' platform calls for all Jews to convert to Islam or be killed, based on an Islamic saying (Hadith), and the group has not refrained from targeting children in the past.

Hamas will destroy synagogues and Jewish schools as well, Zahar said, just as Israel destroyed mosques in Gaza. Israel bombed several mosques used to store rockets and ammunition.

Zahar suggested Hamas was prepared to seek a ceasefire, saying Hamas would discuss “whatever is good for our people.” He issued a list of demands, saying any ceasefire must include a complete end to IDF counterterrorism activities, Hamas control of the Gaza coast and the opening of Israeli crossings.

Israel has not offered Hamas a ceasefire, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently said operations in Gaza would continue “until we achieve our goals.”