Mahmoud al-Zahar
Mahmoud al-ZaharIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar on Tuesday issued a direct threat against Israel.

Al-Zahar, who spoke at a memorial ceremony for terrorists who died in a “work accident”, declared that Hamas has rockets that can hit any city in Israel.

He further said that during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Hamas held a “dry run” in attacking Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Hamas is known to have test-fired long-range M-175 rockets that can reach Tel Aviv and even beyond that when fired from Gaza.

Another senior Hamas official, Salah Bardawil, backed Al-Zahar by trivializing the IDF’s Operation Brother’s Keeper, which was launched following the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers.

Bardawil said that the IDF operation will actually strengthen Hamas, similar to the way that "Operation Defensive Shield", led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during the period of the Second Intifada, which helped Hamas emerge victorious in parliamentary elections.

Like Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal did on Monday, Bardawil denied that Hamas had any connection to the kidnapping of the three teenagers and even suggested that Israel had made up the abduction.

"Until now, the only version that exists regarding this action is the version of the occupation, and the only source of information on this story is the occupation,” he said. “No Palestinian official has claimed responsibility for this act, yet the (Zionist) entity chooses to ignore that and attack Hamas and the resistance.”