Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyyeh has warned that Israel is planning another offensive on the Gaza Strip, Iran's Press TV reported on Friday.
According to Haniyyeh, it is Israel and not Hamas that is intent on keeping the conflict going between the two sides. Hamas is "not looking for more violence," Haniyyeh told a group of Red Cross delegates visiting the Gaza Strip earlier this week.
The Hamas leader, who was elected to head the movement's cabinet and took over leadership of Gaza in 2007, told the delegates that he hoped his prediction of war would not come into fruition.
Haniyyeh said that should such an offensive occur, Hamas would be prepared to retaliate. "Our people will not surrender; they will fight back," Prime Minister Haniyyeh's office said, in a statement.
He also said he hoped that "the world will stop Israel from killing more children," according to the Iranian network.
ASHKENAZI: ISRAEL WILL FIGHT IN GAZA AGAIN IF NEEDED
Meanwhile, Israeli occupation army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Friday that the army would not hesitate to respond if Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip continued to fire rockets at the occupied territories.
"We are prepared to contend with the whole arc of threats," Ashkenazi told students during a visit to a Be'er Sheva high school, citing both the local defense situation as well as Iran's nuclear program.
Although the Hamas rulers in Gaza have of late been "restraining themselves and others," said Ashkenazi, "we must not fool ourselves. If necessary, we will operate again in the Gaza Strip to stop the rocket fire."
In reference to the Goldstone Commission's damning report on Israel's conduct during the war on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Ashkenazi emphasized that the Israeli army had the responsibility to defend itself at all costs.
His comments came amid an international frenzy over a UN-commissioned report accusing Israel of war crimes during the January aggression. Israel has denounced the Goldstone report as one-sided and biased. During that aggression, more than 1400 Palestinians were killed; including 420 children and over 5300 others were injured not to mention the severe destruction in the Strip and the displaced that lost their homes.