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Hamas Threatens to Escalate Attacks Against Israel

Masked Palestinian militants from Hamas attend a press conference in Gaza City , 25 Dec 2010
Masked Palestinian militants from Hamas attend a press conference in Gaza City , 25 Dec 2010

The Palestinian militant group Hamas says it is prepared to escalate hostilities against Israel if tensions do not subside along the Israel-Gaza border.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida said Saturday his group will respond aggressively to Israeli attacks.

His comments come a day after a top Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, said his group will stay committed to its informal truce signed with Israel two years ago, as long as Israel does the same.

Israel and Hamas signed the truce at the end of a 22-day war between the two sides.

Palestinian militants have fired more than 25 rockets and mortars into southern Israel in the past week, one of which wounded an Israeli girl near a kindergarten. Israel has retaliated with a series of air strikes, one of which killed five militants preparing to carry out a rocket attack.

Late Friday, Israeli warplanes attacked several targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, wounding at least two people after militants fired a rocket and a mortar into southern Israel.

Israel said the targeted sites included tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border where smugglers bring weapons and other goods into Gaza. Palestinian witnesses said one Israeli air strike also hit a Hamas military training camp in central Gaza.

Most recent rocket and mortar attacks on Israel have been carried out by small groups in Gaza, rather than Hamas. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from the territory. Hamas' charter calls for Israel's destruction.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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