Ahead of ‘Prisoner’s Day’ Hamas leader vows ‘rifle and tunnel are our commitment’

Senior Hamas terrorist Ismail Haniyeh on Friday reaffirmed the terror group’s dedication to an armed struggle against Israel.

Addressing a crowd in the Gaza strip Haniyeh said that “Our message to the prisoners is a message inked in blood. The rifle and the tunnel are our commitment.”

“The issue of prisoners is at the top of our priority list. As time passes, we stick to our principles, and the people who walk in the path of martyrs and prisoners also stick with us,” he continued.

The speech comes two days before Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip observe Prisoner’s day.  Rallies are held each year on April 17 in solidarity with nearly 6,000 Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons.

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Arabs later rioted at the Gaza border fence, where Israeli soldiers used non-lethal riot dispersal methods.  Shots were fired towards the lower body of one terrorist.

Haniyeh’s speech came a day after a senior IDF official discussed how both Israel and Hamas were preparing for a future conflict.  However, he told Journalists, neither side is immediately interested in an escalation of violence.

But he also reported that the Hamas’ military wing has become its dominant force as it claims that the political wing was overly restrictive during the last conflict with Israel.

According to the IDF, Hamas has been intensively training its elite Nukhba unit, tasked with sensitive missions such as surprise strategic attacks. The unit has grown since the summer of 2014 and today its strength stands at some 5,000 out of 20,000 Hamas terrorists.

Hamas is also reportedly investing more in its naval commando force and has expanded the ranks of its divers. The group is also said to be investing and developing drones with Iranian funding and know-how.

As for the rocket arsenal, Hamas lacks raw materials for production, mainly because of the Egyptian military’s crackdown on smuggling tunnels.