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Hamas Military Chief Urges Continued Battle

Israeli Troops Continue To Gather On Border As Ceasefire Talks Are Sought
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – A man identified as the most elusive top military commander of Hamas is urging the group’s fighters to keep up attacks on Israel.

Mohammed Deif, seriously wounded in an Israeli airstrike in 2003, says Hamas “must invest all resources to uproot this aggressor from our land,” a reference to Israel.

He was speaking from hiding on Hamas-run TV and radio.

Deif is one of the founders of the Hamas military wing and was its top commander until he was wounded in 2003. He was replaced as by Ahmed Jabari, who was assassinated by Israel last week in the opening salvo of its latest Gaza offensive.

The speaker on TV and radio was introduced as Deif, and a Gaza reporter said the speaker sounded like Deif.

Meanwhile, Israeli aircraft have battered the headquarters of the Gaza Strip bank the territory’s Hamas rulers set up to sidestep international sanctions.

Tuesday’s strike on the Islamic National Bank in Gaza City is part of a widening Israeli onslaught against the militants and their rocket squads targeting Israel. The offensive is now in its seventh day.

The inside of the bank was destroyed, and a building supply business in the basement was damaged.

The bank’s 31-year-old owner, Suleiman Tawil, denounced the strike, saying he is not “involved in politics.”

Hamas set up the bank after foreign lenders, afraid of running afoul of international terror financing laws, stopped doing business with the militant-led Gaza government.

The U.S., Israel and others in the West consider Hamas a terror group.

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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