GAZA CITY — Palestinian terror movement Hamas again refused to disarm on Monday ahead of a key reconciliation deadline, instead threatening to carry out attacks against Israel in the West Bank.
By Friday, the Islamists are due to hand over control of the Gaza Strip to the internationally recognized Palestinian government, based in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
But the future of their armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, remains unclear.
“The weapons of the resistance are a red line that is non-debatable,” Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas in Gaza, told a press conference, referring to the Qassam Brigades.
“These weapons will be moved to the West Bank to fight the occupation. It is our right to resist the occupation until it ends.”
Hamas, an Islamist terror group, seeks the destruction of Israel.
Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, alongside around three million Palestinians.
In Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since seizing it in 2007, there are no settlers after Israel withdrew in 2005.
The United States and Israel have said they will reject any reconciliation agreement leading to a unity government including Hamas unless it disarms, renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also said there will only be one security force in the Palestinian territories.
The reconciliation agreement signed on October 12 in Cairo does not specify a future for the Qassam Brigades.