By Nour Abu Aisha
GAZA CITY, Palestine
Continued Israeli shelling of sites in the Gaza Strip reflects the state of "confusion and hysteria" into which Israel has been thrown by the mass rallies now underway along Gaza's eastern border, Hamas said Wednesday.
"The shelling of sites associated with the resistance in Gaza reflects the confusion experienced by the Zionist entity as a result of the mass mobilization [of Palestinians on the border] and their embrace of the principles of resistance," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.
"The [Israeli] attacks will only lead to more mobilization and stiffen our resolve to resist the occupation, fight for our rights and break the siege [of Gaza], whatever the cost," Barhoum asserted.
The resistance, he added, "will remain the shield and defender of the Palestinian people in the face of the occupation and its schemes".
Earlier Wednesday, the Israeli army targeted several Hamas-affiliated sites near the Gaza-Israel border. According to an army statement, the attack came in response to a bomb attack on "an Israeli military force engaged in engineering activity".
At least 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army cross-border gunfire since Mar. 30, when the peaceful rallies began along the Gaza Strip's roughly 45-kilometer eastern border with Israel.
Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be given the "right of return" to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.
The rallies are part of a six-week-long demonstration that will culminate on May 15. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment -- an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".