Hamas chief Haniyeh warns ‘resistance will continue’ after four hostages rescued

Hamas chief Haniyeh warns ‘resistance will continue’ after four hostages rescued

Hamas terror group leader Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday threatened that the “resistance will continue” after deadly fighting in a central Gaza refugee camp where Israel mounted a successful hostage rescue operation.

“Our people will not surrender, and the resistance will continue to defend our rights in the face of this criminal enemy,” Haniyeh said in a statement.

“If the occupation believes that it can impose its choices on us by force, then it is delusional,” he added.

The terror group said earlier it still held a large number of hostages and could increase it, while its military wing threatened the remaining captives held in Gaza.

“The operation will pose a great danger to the enemy prisoners and will have a negative impact on their conditions and lives,” Abu Obeida, spokesman of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement.

The deputy chief of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is an ally of Hamas, said the operation would not impact negotiations on a hostage-for-ceasefire agreement. Mohammad Al-Hindi said that conditions for the deal remain the same, in comments to Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV, referring to the terror groups’ demand for an end to the war in Gaza.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meanwhile called for an emergency UN Security Council session on “the bloody massacre that was carried out by the Israeli forces,” referring to the successful rescue of the four hostages that was accompanied by heavy firefights.

Hamas’s government media office said at least 210 “martyrs” were killed during the operation, a figure that could not be verified and did not distinguish between the terror group’s own gunmen and civilians. The IDF acknowledged that it killed Palestinian civilians amid the fighting, but placed the blame on Hamas for holding hostages and fighting in a dense civilian environment.

“We know about under 100 [Palestinian] casualties. I don’t know how many of them are terrorists,” IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a briefing with journalists, reported by Reuters.

The foreign ministry of Iran, one of Hamas’s leading supporters, lashed out after the rescue operation at the “inaction” by world governments and the UN Security council, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

“These horrific and shocking crimes… are the result of the inaction of governments and responsible international bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, in the face of eight months of war crimes and violations by the Zionist regime,” foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said.

The Egyptian foreign ministry released a statement condemning “Israeli attacks on the Nuseirat camp,” as ties between Cairo and Jerusalem have come under strain over the fighting in Gaza.

Citing death tolls given by Hamas officials that could not be independently checked, the statement slammed the operation “in which more than 150 Palestinian civilians” were killed, saying the mission violated international law.

The statement does not mention the rescue of the four hostages who were abducted during the Hamas terror group’s October 7 onslaught, which triggered the ongoing war in Gaza.

The statement also called on the UN Security Council “to intervene immediately to stop the Israeli war against the Gaza Strip.”

Following Saturday’s operation, 116 of the 251 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 still remain in Gaza, not all of them alive. A weeklong truce in late November saw 105 civilians released from Hamas captivity and four hostages were released before that.

In all, seven hostages have been rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 19 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 41 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

One more person has been listed as missing since October 7, and her fate is still unknown, although her family believes she is dead.

Hamas has also been holding two Israeli civilians who entered the Strip in 2014 and 2015, as well as the bodies of two IDF soldiers who were killed in 2014.

Source » timesofisrael.com