A land operation in the Gaza Strip would be a disaster for Israel and would change the balance of the war, the deputy head of Hamas’ Political Bureau said early Saturday.
Saleh al-Aruri, speaking to Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa television about news reports that Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza on Friday, said the resistance forces are capable of surprising Israeli forces and have more powerful weapons than they used in earlier encounters.
"A land operation would be a disaster for the occupier, and it would not be able to come out of it until the balance of the war changes," Aruri said, adding that Hamas' preparations for a possible land operation are much greater than its missiles alone.
He underlined that resistance forces had made preparations to successfully repel any new land operation.
The front lines in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Green Line area, where Israeli-citizen Arabs live, are key for victory, he said.
Israeli army spokesmen on Friday denied reports that a land operation had been launched in Gaza, blaming a mistranslation for earlier reports.
The Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, has called on all Palestinians to fight Israeli forces in the squares to mark the 73rd anniversary of Israel's May 15, 1948 invasion of Palestinian territories, called the Nakba.
The statement called for Palestinians to give "Zionists nightmares … and make them pay the price for their occupation of Palestinian Territories."
Eviction order, protests, attacks on Palestinians
Tensions have been running high since last week, when an Israeli court ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
Palestinians protesting in solidarity with residents of the neighborhood were targeted by Israeli forces.
The occupying forces also raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque during special night prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The subsequent escalation of tensions resulted in airstrikes by Israel on Gaza that have killed some 140 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
*Writing by Merve BerkerAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.