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17 August, 2017

Hamas pledges to ‘crush’ Israel if Gaza attacked

The Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has pledged to “crush Israel in case it wages another war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israeli media reports on Wednesday cited Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar as saying that while the movement was not looking to start a war, it was well prepared to take on the Tel Aviv regime’s military forces at any time. “We do not seek confrontation with the Israelis, but if the confrontation happens, we will crush them,” Sinwar was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

The Hamas chief, who was appointed in February to succeed Ismail Haniyeh to head the movement’s political office in Gaza, said any “stupid steps” by Israel against the coastal enclave would be met with a response greater than the one the movement gave to the 2014 Israeli invasion.

July marked the third anniversary of the 51-day Israeli war on Gaza that left more than 2,200 people dead and over 11,000 others injured. Gaza stood its ground and was able to repel the ruthless invasion.

"Israel is not launching a new war against Gaza, which stresses Tel Aviv's fear of the unknown that awaits it in Gaza," the Palestinian leader asserted.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade and recurrent airstrikes has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Sinwar said there was hope for better living standards following a series of breakthroughs in negotiations with Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing to the southern neighbor. According to him, Cairo had committed itself to let goods and passengers through the gate since the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

He also noted that "there is talk about improving the electricity situation" in Gaza, which is hit by daily blackouts of about 17-18 hours.

Sinwar was the most senior figure to be released with over 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in 2011 in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kept in Gaza for more than five years.

Before being appointed to his new post, Sinwar was a senior commander of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing.

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