Hamas conditions any future prisoner exchange with the Israeli regime on the release of the prisoners, who recently managed a daring escape from an Israeli jail, but were recaptured by the regime.
Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the resistance movement which is based in the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip, made the remarks in a televised address on Saturday.
Six prisoners, five of whom belong to the Islamic Jihad, Hamas’ fellow Gaza-based resistance group, escaped the Gilbao Prison in the northern part of the occupied territories through an underground tunnel earlier this month. The facility has earned notoriety as the Israeli version of the Guantanamo prison.
Despite conducting a thorough search for days on end, the Israeli police service kept failing to find any clues about their whereabouts. Also on Saturday, however, the police reported re-arresting four of the inmates.
The Palestinian official said that Qassam’s commandership still viewed the arrestees “with pride” and considered them to be “heroes,” saying they had already “relayed their message to the world” by once breaking out of the prison.
“They were the ones who made the Muslim Ummah and the Palestinian people proud through their brave and strong operation,” he said.
The operation once again revealed the “brittle nature of the Zionist enemy’s security theory,” he said, and noted that the “sons of the Palestinian nation kept proving this reality (the Israeli regime’s vulnerability) every time through their willpower.”
Abu Ubaida, meanwhile, reiterated the resistance’s support for Gazans’ fellow Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, saying it would act on its “religious and national” duty to stand by them in the face of the regime’s aggression.
Last time, Gaza’s resistance groups fired around 4,000 rockets towards the occupied territories in May to stop a ferocious trend of violations that had been started by the occupying regime against Palestinians and their sanctities in the West Bank.