Arab media reported Saturday that a delegation of Hamas leaders headed by Mahmoud al-Zahar, have left the Gaza Strip for Cairo in order to discuss the escalation in violence between the Palestinians and Israel, and the energy crisis in the Strip. According to the reports, the delegation also includes other top Hamas officials.
"We really want to end the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and we have established contact with Egypt to this end," a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Taher al-Nounou told AFP.
Hamas is also willing to "sponsor a Palestinian consensus on a reciprocal truce, but not to surrender," added the spokesman. "The Israeli occupation must immediately cease its aggression against our people," he noted.
The latest round of violence, which began on Friday after the assassination of Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) commander Zuhir al-Qaisi, has resulted in the deaths of 15 Palestinian terrorists and more than 100 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Gaza house damaged in IAF strike (Photo: AP)
Most Palestinian casualties were Islamic Jihad terrorists belonging to its military wing, al-Quds Brigades.
Earlier on Saturday, Hamas' military wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam broadcast a recorded statement in which it vowed to retaliate for Israel's airstrikes. The group, however, did not claim responsibility for any of the rocket salvos.
IAF strike in Rafah (Photo: AFP)
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority on Friday issued a statement in which it condemned Israel's assassination of al-Qaisi. On Saturday President Mahmoud Abbas instructed to send shipments of medicine to Gaza hospitals.
Ehud Barak patrolling near Iron Dome battery (Photo: Avi Roccah)
Fatah official Nabil Shaath also denounced the escalation, saying that the Palestinians will not allow Israel to "exploit the Fatah-Hamas split in order to commit its crimes in the Gaza Strip."
IDF soldiers looking for rocket remnants (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
The PRC issued a statement following the assassination of its leader, threatening to launch a retaliation that would "shake the earth."
A spokesman for Nasser Salah-al-Din Brigades, the organization's military wing, said the group ordered its fighters to respond to Qaisi's assassination. "By harming secretary-general al-Qaisi, the Zionist enemy opened the doors of hell and revenge," he said. "The response will be of the same scope as the despicable crime."
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