Israel’s army on Thursday accused Hamas of waging a “dirty war” in the city’s streets as it vowed to attack Israeli targets “as soon as the last bullet leaves our bodies”.
Hamas on Thursday said its forces were continuing to target Israeli targets, but warned against civilian casualties and called on the international community to condemn its actions.
The Palestinian leader has vowed to continue to carry out terror attacks and kill Israeli civilians in a bid to break a four-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, a coastal enclave where nearly 1.8 million people are displaced.
“The army of the people of Palestine will not stop its operations until the last last bullet is fired from our hands,” said an audio message posted on Twitter by Gaza-based Hamas, which has been battling Israel since 2007.
“We will not give up the struggle until our land is liberated.”
Hamas has made a concerted push to regain territory in the Gaza Strip following the July 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians.
It says it aims to secure the strip from Israel, and has launched a series of rocket attacks that have killed at least 200 Israelis.
Israel’s military says the number of Palestinian deaths has risen since the truce, but its own statistics say the death toll has fallen significantly.
The army said in a statement that Israel had responded with “precision strikes” on targets in Gaza and “a total of more than 150 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel”.
“Israel is not afraid of hitting its citizens,” it added.
Israel on Thursday began building a fence along the frontier with Gaza, which it said was necessary to prevent Hamas militants from infiltrating its territory.
But Hamas has denied Israel’s claims and said it will continue to launch rockets into Israeli territory and target Israeli civilians.
Israel and Egypt have been locked in a deadly three-week border conflict, with Hamas firing rockets at Israel from Gaza and Egypt’s army saying it has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from the Sinai Peninsula.