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Qassam Brigades sound defiant note amid truce talks

Nov. 18, 2012 1:37 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 19, 2012 8:40 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The spokesman of Hamas' armed wing made a televised statement late Saturday in a show of defiance against Israel as preliminary talks of a truce started in Cairo.

Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obaida said Israeli claims it had destroyed the military capacity of the Palestinian resistance were completely false.

He reiterated claims that the group had downed an Israeli fighter jet, saying an Israeli pilot fell into the ocean off Gaza's coast, and said the group had also shot down an unmanned drone.

Abu Obeida said the group has also hit a military jeep 3 km inside Israel from Gaza's border.

Israel's army has strenuously denied these claims, calling them "extraordinary."

The al-Qassam spokesman accused Israel of a cover-up. "If you possess the courage, confess the truth and the number of soldiers killed," he said.

As Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal met in Cairo for talks about a potential truce to end the bombardments, which have killed nearly 50 Palestinians over four days, Abu Obeida said this round of fighting would not be the last.

He said al-Qassam was ready to return ten-fold fire if Israel launched a land invasion in the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi said on Saturday there were "some indications" a ceasefire could be reached soon between Israel and Gaza Palestinians but he had no firm guarantees.
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