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The New Arab

Hamas will respond to Israeli aggression with 'hail of rockets'

The sides have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 August, 2018

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The leader of Hamas has warned Israel that he will retaliate strongly if Israel resumes bombarding the Gaza Strip, as he seeks a lasting truce deal with Tel Aviv.

The leader of Hamas has warned Israel that he will retaliate with hundreds of rockets in minutes if Israel resumes bombarding the Gaza Strip, as he seeks a lasting truce deal with Tel Aviv.

Yahya Sinwar said that Hamas could launch "51-days worth" of rockets into Israel in response to further aggression, the Shehab news agency reported on Thursday.

"Hamas does not want a military confrontation with the occupation but at the same time, we are not scared. We have prepared ourselves well in recent years and the results of any future confrontation will be impressive," Sinwar said.

"What the resistance [forces] launched during the 51 days of the last war could be launched in five minutes during an possible Israeli aggression against Gaza,"

He added that the group's rocket arsenal has increased and improved in accuracy since the 2014 war.

Sinwar's comments come amid efforts by Egypt to mediate a possible ceasefire between Hamas and Israel following weeks of Israeli troops killing protesters on the border.

Israeli snipers have shot dead at least 172 Gazan protesters since March 30, when weekly demonstrations began calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former lands now inside Israel.

Israel has come under heavy international criticism for its routine use of lethal force against unarmed protesters.

The sides have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks, with Israel pounding the besieged Palestinian enclave with airstrikes.

An Israeli air raid this month killed a baby and her pregnant mother in Gaza.

Hamas is seeking an easing of the decade-long, crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade in exchange for a lasting truce.

Indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel have reportedly included discussion on easing the blockade.

Sinwar also said such a cease-fire agreement could be reached with Israel even in the absence of reconciliation between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

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