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Nizar Rayyan
Photo: Reuters
Hamas vows 'painful response' to commander's death
Hamas lawmaker brands killing of top leader earlier Thursday 'dangerous development' that will lead to strong response. Sources in group say Rayyan's death will not affect Hamas operations

Hamas warned on Thursday that the organization's response to the targeted killing of one of its leaders by Israel would be "strong and painful."

 

Meanwhile, a member of one of the other armed factions in Gaza said that the group might attempt to launch rockets deeper into Israeli territory following the strike against Nizar Rayyan earlier in the day.

 

Some 50 rockets have been fired on Israel throughout Thursday. No injuries were reported, but damage was caused to some buildings.

 

Building bombarded in Gaza (Photo: AP)

 

Rayyan's funeral is scheduled to be held on Friday, but Hamas' leaders, who have been in hiding since Israel launched its operation in the Strip, are not expected to attend it.

 

However, Hamas officials said that despite the blow to morale caused by Rayyan's death, the organization planned to continue the fighting and even escalate it.

 

Hamas lawmaker and one of its spokesmen Mushir al-Masri said that the balance of terror in expected to change following Rayyan's killing. He described the assassination as a "dangerous development and the crossing of red lines," and stated that "the scope of the response will be painful and proportionate to the scale of the killing."

 

Sources in Hamas estimated that the assassination would have no effect on the group's operations.

 

"The Israelis are the ones interested in a truce, but the organization's stance following the killing will be much firmer, especially regarding the demand that any ceasefire must include an unconditional Israeli commitment to open the border crossings, lift the siege on Gaza and halt any form of aggression," one official explained.

 

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