Hamas leaders have called for more kidnappings of Israeli soldiers. The statements were made during celebrations marking the anniversary of the October 18, 2011, release of 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab prisoners in exchange for the return of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was kidnapped and held captive by Hamas for 1,934 days.

Israel Radio quoted senior Hamas spokesman in Qatar Issat al-Rishq, who declared:

“The abduction of Gilad Shalit was not the first, and…will not be the last, so long as there are Palestinians in the enemy’s jails.”

According to Israeli Army Radio, the prisoners were collectively responsible for the death of 569 Israeli citizens. The Times of Israel reported that Gaza-based Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called for a “popular uprising” during celebrations and referred to the prisoner exchange as an “historic achievement.”

Shalit was captured during an attack by Hamas terrorists who entered Israel from Gaza using an underground tunnel. Israel recently discovered a similar explosive-laden tunnel, 2.5 kilometers (~1.5 miles) in length. This tunnel started in Hamas-controlled Gaza and ended near the Southern Negev kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in Israel proper. The tunnel was neutralized by the Israel Defense Forces.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, responded via Facebook to the IDF shutdown:

“The tunnel which was revealed was extremely costly in terms of money, effort and blood. All of this is meaningless when it comes to freeing our heroic prisoners… It would not have been possible to free hundreds of our prisoners without the Shalit tunnel.”

The AFP reported that on Friday, coinciding with the anniversary of the prisoner exchange, the IDF executed a phone campaign cautioning Gazan citizens about the dangers of cooperating with Hamas.

“To the residents of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army warns you against obeying the orders of the terrorist Hamas or having any contact with it,” according to a prerecorded message.

“Know that Hamas is spending millions of dollars on tunnels used for hostile and terrorist acts against the state of Israel.”

Author: Eitan Press
Staff Writer, United with Israel

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