Palestinian Government Spokesman Dr. Ghazi Hamad said that Israel
must be wiped off the face of the earth.
The remarks made by Hamad, who is considered a moderate element among the Hamas leadership, came in response to the Israel Defense Forces strike on Wednesday morning, which killed at least 18 Palestinians on Wednesday morning as a large number of IDF tank shells hit a house in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.
Four of the casualties were members of one family, including a child and an elderly woman.
Five Palestinians, including three gunmen, were killed in the village of Yamoun, near the West Bank city of Jenin.
Hamad added that "this is not a country of humans. These are animals and a group of gangs, and this country must be wiped off the face of the earth."
The Palestinian government was set to convene for an emergency meeting Wednesday morning following the IDF's strike in Beit Hanoun.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on the United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency meeting.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the IDF strike, referring to it as "a horrible massacre." Abbas joined Haniyeh's call to convene an emergency meeting at the Security Council.
Injured Palestinians evacuated in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, threatened to launch "earth-shattering revenge attacks."
"We shall avenge the death of the Beit Hanoun casualties," the organization said in a statement.
The Islamic Jihad members also claimed that the group fired two missiles at an IDF post near the Sufa crossing.
Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim also referred to the series of incident, saying that killing constitutes a policy and a target for the Israelis.
"I have no words to describe the ugly Israeli massacre in Beit Hanoun this morning.
According to Naim, "This massacre is added to another massacre which the town has only just emerged from. This morning's operation only proves that killing is Israel's target, and this is proven by the massive fire at the medical teams arriving at the area."
Naim added that another proof was the inclusion into the government of Avigdor Lieberman, who calls day and night to kill Palestinians.
Hundreds of Palestinians began marching in the northern Gaza Strip, in protest of the IDF's operation in Beit Hanoun. The protestors chanted slogans against Israel and demanded to fire more rockets at Israel and carry out suicide bombings.