World Bulletin / News Desk
“The [Palestinian] resistance is ready to confront any Zionist aggression against our people or land,” Qassam spokesman Abu Ubaida said in an address delivered after a two-day military drill conducted across the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
“Nor will we hesitate to defend our people and their rights,” he declared.
He added: “We warn the enemy [i.e., Israel] against committing any rash acts against the Palestinian people, for which it will pay a steep price”.
Abu Ubaida also announced the conclusion of extensive military training exercises that began Sunday morning.
Carried out by the Qassam Brigades, the two-day exercises were intended to test the Brigades’ combat readiness and prepare for simultaneous Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip, according to Abu Ubaida.
“Exercises included maneuvers aimed at countering [Israeli] landing operations from air, land, and sea,” he said.
Hundreds of Qassam fighters have been deployed across the blockaded coastal enclave.
Notably, the military drills come only days before a planned Friday rally during which Gazan demonstrators plan to converge en masse on the strip's roughly 45-kilometer-long eastern border with Israel.
Dubbed the “Great Return March”, the event is intended to ratchet up pressure on Israel to lift its decade-long blockade of Gaza and reaffirm the Palestinians' right to return to their homes in historical Palestine.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli/Egyptian blockade that has largely destroyed the enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of basic commodities.