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Top Hamas Leader Doubles Down on Continued Hostilities, Boasts that Group has Crushed IDF

A prerecorded message published Tuesday by top Hamas figure Mohammed Deif committed the terror group to continuing the current hot conflict against Israel until a range of demands – long considered non-starters by Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority – were met:

The head of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, released a prerecorded message on the organization’s official television channel bragging of a victory over the IDF. “The balance of power has changed. We have beaten the military. It is defeated.”

The al-Qassam Brigades commander repeated Khaled Mashal’s conditions for a halt to hostilities. “The cease fire will only happen if the aggression is ended and the blockade lifted. The Zionist entity will not enjoy security if our people do not live in freedom and with respect.”

Deif also boasted that fighters organized by Hamas were ready to continuing attacking Israeli positions, boasting that “the IDF stands before united factions and soldiers who yearn for death.” The Israelis for their part have emphasized that they will continue operating inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip until they have successfully neutralized the organization’s offensive tunnels, which snake from Gaza Strip civilian infrastructure to within a few dozen meters of Israeli border communities.

The New York Times on Monday conveyed remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that the Jewish state would continue its operation to destroy tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel:

“We will not complete the operation without neutralizing the tunnels, the sole purpose of which is the destruction of our civilians and the killing of our children,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel declared in a televised address afterward. “It cannot be that the citizens of the state of Israel will live under the deadly threats of missiles and infiltration through tunnels — death from above and death from below.”

The Israelis have gone to significant lengths to emphasize that their primary strategic goal remains the destruction of Hamas’s offensive tunnel infrastructure, and it remains unclear to what degree Israeli leaders intend to commit ground forces against Hamas’s rocket arsenal. Any effort to erode those assets will be complicated by the degree to which Hamas has embedded them in civilian infrastructure.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) revealed today that it had found Hamas ordnance in one of its schools, marking the third announcement of its kind during the current Operation Protective Edge.

[Photo: idfnadesk / YouTube]