GAZA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Hamas movement, pledged late Friday to defeat Israel, which began a ground military operation in the Palestinian Gaza Strip a day earlier.
In a televised speech, the spokesman of the al-Qassam Brigades Abu Obayda warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his forces would undoubtedly be defeated in Gaza.
"We have well prepared ourselves for a long battle with the occupiers... but we are more determined to achieve our goals," said the spokesman.
On late Thursday, Netanyahu ordered his army to start a limited ground operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after 11 days of bloody airstrikes to end rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
The decision came after Egyptian and international efforts to call for a ceasefire in Gaza failed.
Hamas warned that Israel would pay a heavy price for the ground offensive on Gaza.
On July 8, Israel started an all-out aerial operation dubbed Protective Edge to stop rocket fire from Gaza.
The operation has so far killed 297 Palestinians and injured more than 2,000 others.