In a recent TV interview, Hamas spokesman Husam Badran said: "Hundreds of our men were martyred digging the tunnels during the previous lull period." Al-Qassam Brigades engineers were working day and night on the locally-made missiles, as well as on drones," he said.
Following are excerpts from the interview, broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network on August 6, 2014:
Husam Badran: When I was arrested in 2002, the deputy head of the Shin Bet came to my interrogation. Later, he would become the head of the Shin Bet. One of his many questions was: Will you in Hamas ever negotiate with us?
I was under interrogation, but I said to him outright: If we ever negotiate with you, whether directly or indirectly, we will do so with our weapons in our hands. I we get what we want, so be it. If not, we will shoot you in the chest.
Interviewer: You said that to his face?
Husam Badran: Yes, during the interrogation. What I said back then is how Hamas negotiates now.
We have not become so powerful by chance. The [military] surprises of the Al-Qassam Brigades did not come from nowhere. We began preparing for this confrontation the day the 2012 war ended. We did not do so out of love for war, but because we knew that the occupier would repeat it.
People don't know it, but hundreds of our men were martyred digging the tunnels during the previous lull period. While the people were celebrating, going about their everyday lives, the mujahideen of the Al-Qassam Brigades were getting ready in the tunnels, and the engineers of the Al-Qassam Brigades were working day and night on the locally-made missiles, as well as on the drones that many countries in the region lack.