'Israel missed Gaza military targets'
Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas' loss has been "very small" during the Israeli offensive on Gaza, the group's spiritual leader, Khaled Mishaal, said.world Updated: Jan 03, 2009 10:00 IST
Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas' loss has been "very small" during the Israeli offensive on Gaza, the group's spiritual leader, Khaled Mishaal, said Friday.
"Hamas loss is small, very small," Mishaal, the group's politburo chief, said in a statement broadcast live on al-Jazeera TV.
In his second TV appearance since the attack started seven days ago, the top leader of the hard-line Palestinian faction, who lives in exile, said that Israel failed to hit the group's military targets.
Over the past week, more than 700 targets in Gaza have been hit, an army spokeswoman said, while hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas hit Israel.
"The enemy succeeded in destroying the infrastructure of the Strip, but I would like to tell our people all over the world that the resistance in Gaza is fine," said the Syria-based Mishaal.
"We know that our resources are limited, but our will is not. We are ready for the challenge in this battle that was imposed on us," he added.
Since Saturday, the Palestinian toll after one week of Israel's air raids - launched Saturday to curb rocket and mortar attacks from the strip - reached 430 dead and 2,200 injured. Israeli ground troops were waiting along the Gaza border for orders to enter.
Mishaal warned of a "black destiny" awaiting any "fool decision" by Israel to mount a ground operation.
"We will track and fight Israeli soldiers from one house to another. Maybe then Hamas will get to have a second, third or even fourth Shalit," said Mishaal.
He was referring to the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive for more than two years by Hamas.
Saturday, Mishaal urged Palestinians to launch a third uprising - or intifada - in an interview with the Doha-based al-Jazeera news channel.
The Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV reported Friday that Egypt had been in contact with Hamas with regards to a cease-fire in Gaza.
The TV channel quoted Osama Hamdan, the group's spokesman in Lebanon, as saying that the talks aimed to look into new ideas to bring about a new agreement between Israel and Hamas, adding that Hamas was still considering the Egyptian invitation.
Israel launched the deadly offensive one week after a six-month, Egyptian-mediated truce ended, which Hamas had announced it would not renew. During that week, Gaza militants fired around 200 rockets and mortars at southern Israel, some of them fatal.