Gantz’s threats to kill Hamas leaders simply aimed at luring Israeli voters: Spokesman
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Gantz’s threats to kill Hamas leaders simply aimed at luring Israeli voters: Spokesman

“Gantz has to remember — when he served as the chief of general staff of the Israeli military – how the resistance responded to the aggression against the Gaza Strip during the battles of Hijarat as-Sijeel [the 2012 Gaza war] and al-Asef al-Makoul [the 2014 Gaza war],” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem stated on Thursday.   “The Zionist regime paid for the crimes committed by the occupation army, when Gantz was in office. At the time, the resistance launched hundreds of missiles at Tel Aviv, occupied al-Quds and Haifa, which forced the shutdown of vital facilities and sent millions of settlers to shelters. The life of the residents of the Gaza enclave was at its worst during the Gantz era, and Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades [the Hamas military wing] managed to capture soldiers from the occupation army,” Qasem pointed out. The Hamas stressed that “the resistance’s response to any new Israeli crime will be many times stronger than before as it has expanded its capabilities, and built up the strength to defend Palestinian people.” Qasem concluded that Gantz will not feel the peace he is looking for as long as the Tel Aviv regime occupies Palestinian land, desecrates Palestinians’ sanctities and is continuing the siege on the Gaza Strip. Gantz, who is the leader of Blue and White centrist and liberal political alliance in Israel, vowed on August 6 to take a stronger approach against Hamas than what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted.  “We will not allow our deterrence to be eroded, and for rounds of rocket attacks to continue. Next time we are attacked, I will make sure it will be the last time. We will not make agreements with Hamas. We will defeat Hamas militarily,” he said. Gantz also threatened to resume targeted killings of Hamas leaders.  “If they do not ensure complete quiet and restore our boys (kidnapped soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin), we will begin a full-scale operation,” he said. “The Israeli military has the capacity and we will have the courage to execute.”  On Tuesday, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip warned the Israeli military against waging a new military campaign on the impoverished coastal sliver, saying his fellow fighters will prevail over Israeli troops if the latter enter the enclave in any future conflict. “We will break the defeated occupation army if it crosses into the Gaza Strip. We know what we say and mean what we utter,” Yahya Sinwar said in a speech delivered to Palestinian families in his hometown of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. “If Israel launches a campaign in Gaza, we will shower their cities with hundreds of missiles in one go,” he added. Israel has launched several wars on the Palestinian coastal sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war. The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

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