Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri warned Israel Friday that Gaza will become a graveyard for IDF soldiers, a day after Israel launched a ground offensive into the Strip as part of Operation Protective Edge.

“We are warning Israel against a ground war,” he told the Lebanese news outlet Al-Mayadeen TV. “This sort of operation will enable us to liberate our prisoners [through the capture of IDF soldiers and the ensuing exchange]. Gaza will be the graveyard of the occupation soldiers, and these are not slogans. Time will reveal [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s cowardice. He will pay the price.”

Asked why Hamas was unwilling to stop the rocket fire that drove the Israeli cabinet to vote for the ground operation, Abu Zuhri replied, “That sort of decision would continue the occupation for another 20 years, as Oslo did. In exchange for this blood [caused by the continued fighting], we will bring normal life to the Gaza Strip.”