Hamas official: Our attack has only just begun

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Hussam Badran, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, says the terror group’s onslaught is only in its early stages.

Badran says the attack, called the “Al-Aqsa Deluge” by the terror group, comes after careful preparation aimed at catching Israel by surprise.

The terror leader says this battle is different from all previous rounds of conflict, and calls on Arab mediators to convey to Israel that it must “leave our occupied lands.”

He adds that Hamas does not expect them to be mediators but rather supporters of its position.

Like a number of Hamas leaders who have issued statements today, Badran claims the attack is motivated by Israeli control over the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

The mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims, sits atop the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews as the location of the biblical temples. Israel has long maintained a delicate status quo at the site, in which Jews are allowed to visit during limited hours, but not pray. Terror groups have repeatedly used baseless claims of Israeli intentions to take over the mosque as a pretext for violence.

Badran also blames Israeli policies in the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinian prisoners for the attack, adding that “we are the owners of this land, and this occupation will not last forever.”

The surprise onslaught against Israel has killed at least 250 Israelis, including many civilians, and injured over 1,000. An unspecified number of Israelis, living and dead, are held hostage by terrorists in Gaza.

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