Mahmoud Al-Zahar, the leader in the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas and a former Palestinian Foreign Minister threatened with responding to Israeli aggressions on Gaza Strip by all means, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described them as "massacres" adding that that "we say to the world that our people will not remain silent against such crimes".
The number of casualties of the land and air Israeli attack rose to 17 martyr, including Hossam (24 years) son of Al-Zahar, in addition to more than 45 injured, including 15 who are critically injured.
Al-Zahar saw that the Israeli escalation is "one of the results of the visit of the US president George Bush to the region".The Hamas leader accused president Bush of inciting Israelis to killing the Palestinian people, saying " We will retaliate with the method which they understand".
Al-Zahar pointed out in a statement to Aljazeera that what happens in Gaza is "a result of the security cooperation between traitors and the Israeli enemy", confirming that "those speaking about the ideology of hatred and peace negotiations are the ones committing these massacres against the Palestinian people"."Those who went for peace (with Israel) brought only shame for the Palestinians!".
For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli attack and described it as a massacre. "What has taken place today in Gaza is a massacre against the Palestinian people", he said, adding in statements to reporters in the West Bank that " Our people will not remain silent in front of these massacres".
For his part, the ousted Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniya criticized Abbas" attempts to resume the peace process with Israel while it escalates its military operations in Gaza."It is a full shame on those who shake hands with occupation leaders and conspire with them" he said in a statement for the Hamas-affilliated Al-Aqsa channel.
An Israeli special force accompanied by tens of military vehicles has penetrated deeply today morning into the Zeitoun district east of Gaza City, and combed and scooped territories close to borders with the Strip, and fired random bullets and missiles.
Eyewitnesses said that more than 20 tanks and military vehicles penetrated deeply into Zeitoun district with a more than 1500-metre copter cover overhead.
Aljazeera correspondent in Gaza Samir Abu Shamala said that the number of martyrs is on the rise and that most of them are from Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas" military wing.
Al-Qassam Brigades confirmed that six of its elements were martyred in the Israeli bombardment including Hossam Al Zahhar. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that "Hamas sees that this Zionist massacre is a natural result of Bush"s visit and due to the cover which he provided for the IOF government to broaden its war against our Palestinian people, especially in Gaza Strip".
"The negotiations taking place between the Palestinian authority and occupation under these hideous Zionist crimes are useless and absurd negotiations", added Abu Zuhri