Muhammad Deif, the commander of Hamas'
military wing, said the Palestinians will not give up their struggle until Israel
ceases to exist.
In a statement issued Saturday to mark 23 years since the Islamist group was founded, Deif also vowed to release all Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. "We promise to release them and break the (prison) bars despite the occupiers' efforts," he said.
In a direct message to Israel, Deif said, "You will disappear and we will have Palestine. We won’t wave a white flag as long as even one Muslim remains."
Ahmed Ja'abri, another top commander in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, issued a statement of his own on a Hamas-affiliated website. "On the anniversary of the war of God's seal (referring to Operation Cast Lead)
we say to the enemy that we are willing to face any new Zionist crime," the statement read.
"Attempts by the leaders of this entity to deceive and intimidate will only make us more determined to continue the resistance against any invasion or Zionist crime."
Also Saturday, a Hamas spokesman warned that the group is observing a truce with Israel but is also ready for a resumption of hostilities.
"There is a truce in effect in the field. It is real if Israel stops its aggression and ends its siege. But if there is any Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip we will respond strongly," said a masked spokesman for Hamas' armed wing who identified himself as Abu Obeideh.
Speaking at a press conference with three guards, who were all masked and armed, he said the group was ready to repel any future Israeli invasion and hinted at a secret weapon.
"We are completely ready to answer any Israeli aggression," he said. "Our weapons are few compared to those of the Israeli occupation, but we have something that will worry the occupation," he said without giving details.
On Friday Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Zahar stated that his organization would be committed to a ceasefire if Israel abided by it.
"We are committed to self-restraint as long as there is no oppression and no aggression," he said.
AFP contributed to the report