“Gaza will be the curse of history for Israel,” a spokesman for the group, Abu Obeida, said in an audio address on Thursday, the AFP news agency reported.
He also told Israel to expect heavy casualties among its forces, adding that more of the Israeli soldiers would “return in black bags.”
So far, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has confirmed the deaths of more than 20 of its soldiers in the ongoing military operation. Earlier on Thursday, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed Israel’s forces had fully encircled Gaza City in the northern part of the enclave.
“Israeli soldiers have completed the encirclement of the city of Gaza, the center of the Hamas terror organization,” he told journalists.
The Israeli military also ruled out the idea of a ceasefire in the near future.
Israel has been facing growing pressure from the UN and humanitarian groups for a ceasefire amid the rising death toll among Gaza civilians and fears of the conflict spreading elsewhere in the Middle East.
Speaking on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden stopped short of calling for a complete cessation of hostilities, urging for a “humanitarian pause” instead.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also claimed this week that Washington is “determined to deter any escalation” in the ongoing conflict.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 9,000 people since October 7, including thousands of children.
Despite the increasing international outcry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would continue pressing its attack.
Netanyahu told soldiers the army was “already [at] more than the gates of Gaza City” and that despite the death of several Israeli soldiers in Gaza, they were “making progress”.
“We also have painful losses, but I want to make one thing clear – nothing will stop us,” he added.