The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing, announced that it has developed biological and chemical weapons, Palestinian news agency Ramattan reported.
“With the help of Allah, we are pleased to say that we succeeded in developing over 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons, this after a three-year effort,” the group said in a leaflet it has distributed. “We say to (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert and (Defense Minister Amir) Peretz: Your threats of invasion do not frighten us. We will surprise you with new weapons you have not faced until now. As soon as an IDF soldier sets foot on Gazan land, we will respond with a new weapon.”
The organization said it would not hesitate to use the substances, adding that they can be placed on rockets similar to those fired at Israeli communities surrounding Gaza.
“If Israel invades Gaza, we will declare open warfare without limits, as long as that is what the occupier wants,” the Brigades said.
'Don't give Israel the opportunity'
Simultaneous to the al-Aqsa Brigades threats, diplomatic talks are continuing in an effort to return the kidnapped IDF soldier to Israel. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned of further escalation in Gaza, stressing that both Israel and the PA must take steps to restore calm and trust in a way that would promote negotiations and the renewal of the peace process.
Aboul Gheit, who called on the sides to act with restraint, demanded that Israel refrain from taking steps that would complicate the situation and increase Palestinian suffering. He also demanded that the PA take measures to control factions carrying out operations similar to Sunday’s attack on the IDF outpost in Kerem Shalom.
The minister added that Egypt is in the midst of intensive talks with the Palestinians, Israel and the US government in a bid to resolve the crisis.
The Palestinians have confirmed that negotiations are being held, saying PA President Mahmoud Abbas spoke with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the matter.
Meanwhile, PA Deputy Prime Minister Nasr el-Din al-Shaar and PA Presidency Secretary-General Tayeb Abdul-Rahim called on the Palestinian armed factions to safeguard the kidnapped IDF soldier’s life so as “not to give Israel the opportunity to invade Gaza.”