Senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan said Monday that the Islamist group would soon take control over the West Bank.
"In the autumn Hamas
supporters will be praying in the Muqata compound in Ramallah (site of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' offices)," he said during a rally in Gaza.
"We are now praying at the Presidential compound in Gaza, just as we said we would. Abbas' regime will fall like a leaf come autumn."
Since Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza last June, the Palestinian Authority's security services have been seeking out Hamas operatives on a daily basis, especially those suspected of belonging to the group's armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
Hamas has repeatedly threatened to retaliate to any attacks against its men in the West Bank.
Rayyan continued to say that "in the fall the man who kills his own people will be exposed, and we will annihilate him just as we have annihilated others like him."
Yaser Abed Rabo, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, said in response that "Rayyan belongs in an asylum. These people are mentally and nationalistically backward.
"Rayyad, Mahmoud al-Zahar and that whole Hamas gang really, they don't deem Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank to be that important at all. All they want is to spread the Islamic mindset amongst Muslims worldwide. This group has nothing in its arsenal but threats; this gang does not know the meaning of dialog, all they can do is curse," the PA official told the Ma'an news agency.