Hamas threatens to abuse Israeli hostages, renew fighting
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Hamas threatens to abuse Israeli hostages, renew fighting

Parading rockets through Rafah and threatening new fighting, Gaza terror group says Israelis held in Strip will receive same treatment as Hamas members in Israeli jails

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

A member of the al-Qassam Brigades stands guard in front of a prefab made up to look like an Israeli prison during an anti-Israel military parade on August 21, 2016 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The sign reads in Hebrew "Prison 4, for prisoners of the enemy." (AFP/ SAID KHATIB)
A member of the al-Qassam Brigades stands guard in front of a prefab made up to look like an Israeli prison during an anti-Israel military parade on August 21, 2016 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The sign reads in Hebrew "Prison 4, for prisoners of the enemy." (AFP/ SAID KHATIB)

The Hamas terror group threatened Thursday to maltreat Israeli hostages being held in the Strip, saying it would offer them the same conditions its own members are given in the Jewish state’s jails.

Hamas is holding the remains of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war, as well as 29-year-old Avraham Mengistu and Juma Ibrahim Abu Anima, both of whom entered the Strip in 2014 and have not been heard from since.

Speaking at a massive rally in Rafah in the southern Strip, Abu Obieda, spokesperson for Hamas’s military branch the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, accused Israel of “racist” and “repressive” measures for Hamas prisoners.

Speaking hours after a Gazan rocket struck the Israeli border town of Sderot, Abu Obeuda also threatened that hostilities could renew, after two years of relative calm.

Abu Ubeida (right), the official spokesperson of the Palestinian militant group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam  Brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, at a press conference on July 3, 2014, in Gaza City (photo credit: AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Abu Ubeida (right), the official spokesperson of the Palestinian militant group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, at a press conference on July 3, 2014, in Gaza City (photo credit: AFP/Mohammed Abed)

“The enemy [i.e., Israel] knows that its prisoners will receive the same treatment as our prisoners in Israeli jails,” Abu Obieda said.

On August 4, 300 Hamas prisoners announced a massive hunger strike, protesting what they said were worsening conditions in Israeli jails.

Two days later, the Hamas prisoners ended their strike, saying prison authorities had agreed to end “humiliating” body searches and return recently transferred prisoners.

AFP reported that over 1,000 masked members of the Qassam brigades were in attendance at Sunday’s rally, and were holding various weapons. Rockets and missiles were also reportedly displayed.

Palestinian members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, display Qassam home-made rockets during an anti-Israel military parade marking the second anniversary of the killing of Hamas's military commanders Mohammed Abu Shamala and Raed al-Attar on August 21, 2016 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP  / SAID KHATIB)
Palestinian members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, display Qassam home-made rockets during an anti-Israel military parade marking the second anniversary of the killing of Hamas’s military commanders Mohammed Abu Shamala and Raed al-Attar on August 21, 2016 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP / SAID KHATIB)

The Hamas spokesman threatened new violence if the Israeli blockade of the Strip continues.

“The siege will not prevent the Qassam Brigades from developing its abilities, and shall not serve the continuance of the state of calm,” he said.

“Whoever plants anger will reap a volcano,” the Hamas spokesperson warned.

Israel says the blockade is necessary to keep arms and other military infrastructure from reaching Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip.

Palestinians attend an anti-Israel military parade of the al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza on August 21, 2016. (AFP/ SAID KHATIB)
Palestinians attend an anti-Israel military parade of the al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza on August 21, 2016. (AFP/ SAID KHATIB)

Since the end of the summer 2014 war, Hamas has repeatedly threatened to restart hostilities with Israel if the blockade of the Strip is not lifted.

Earlier on Sunday, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in the Israeli town of Sderot, causing no injuries or damage.

The Israeli army blamed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for the attack, though a number of smaller salafist groups also took responsibility for the missile.

In response to the attack, the Israel Defense Forces attacked two sites of Hamas “terrorist infrastructure” in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip.

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