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Hamas official says fighters 'still strong'

  • Story Highlights
  • Senior Hamas official who crossed from Gaza to Egypt says his fighters "still strong"
  • Ghazi Hamid vowed to continue fighting despite ground and air assault by Israel
  • He said Hamas won't give in to Israel's demand for immediate end to rocket attacks
  • Over 700 killed in Palestinian territory; Ten Israeli soldiers, 3 civilians also killed
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RAFAH, Egypt (CNN) -- A senior Hamas official who had crossed the border into Egypt from Gaza said Thursday his fighters are "still strong" and vowed to continue fighting despite a continuing ground and air assault by Israel that has killed more than 700 people in the Palestinian territory.

A photo provided by the Israel Defense Forces shows Israeli paratroopers in Gaza on Thursday.

Smoke billows from the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing following Israeli air strikes on January 8.

Speaking in Rafah, Egypt, senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamid told CNN's Karl Penhaul that Hamas "will not give up" or give in to Israel's demand for immediate end to rocket attacks.

"We will not wave the flag and we will try to protect our people, said Hamid. "But I want to say that we as Palestinian people want to live in peace, security -- but I think [Israel's] occupation force will not give us the chance."

Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians have also been killed since Israel launched the offensive nearly two weeks ago with the stated goal of stopping the rocket attacks.

The interview was interrupted by what appeared to be Egyptian intelligence officials, who hustled Hamid back toward the Gaza side of the border.

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In the mean time, ambulances struggled to deliver patients through the Gaza-Egypt crossing. Mohammed Hamid, a Palestinian driver, told CNN Israeli forces are stopping ambulances evacuating the wounded. Video Watch why residents in Rafah worry about the threat of war »

"The road is blocked between here and Gaza City," said Hamid. "There is no effective communication with the Israeli side; they're blocking the road with tanks."

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