Hamas 'ready' for war or peace, Haniyeh tells Israel

Hamas 'ready' for war or peace, Haniyeh tells Israel
Hamas' chief said 'the resistance is ready' for either eventuality.
2 min read
12 May, 2021
Haniyeh made the comments amid mounting deaths in Gaza [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty]
Hamas is ready for either war or a de-escalation, political chief Ismail Haniyeh said on television on Tuesday.

"If they [Israel] want to escalate, the resistance is ready; and if they want to stop, the resistance is ready," he said.

He explained that this was made clear "to all the sides and to whoever is involved".

Al Jazeera suggested this relates to intermediaries who have engaged in talks surrounding the ongoing crisis.

"What is taking place right now is an honour for our people, our nation," the Hamas Political Bureau chief explained.

He called Tuesday's rocket fire against Israel, including in Tel Aviv, a "victory".

This took the life of one woman, 50, in Rishon LeZion, the BBC said, referencing an Israeli insider.

Haniyeh gave another brief statement earlier in the day.

"We have decided to continue [rocket strikes] as long as the [Israeli] occupation doesn't end all forms of aggression and terrorism in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque," he said.

Hamas is designated as a "terrorist group" by the US, EU and UK, but its political wing has run Gaza after its election win in 2006 gave way to fighting with Fatah.

Hamas gave Israel an ultimatum on Monday to withdraw its forces by 3pm GMT, launching rockets after this expired.

Read more: Israel's demographic battle for Jerusalem leaves Palestinians struggling to survive

Israeli forces withdrew from the Al-Aqsa Mosque area on Monday evening, though tensions in the city remain high, and has ramped up deadly airstrikes on Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has seen 53 people, including 14 children, killed by Israeli strikes on the besieged enclave, with 320 wounded, the Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday.

Israel has seen six killed, according to The Jerusalem Post, with Sky News referencing Israeli news reports stating that a girl, aged seven, was among the dead.

Hamas has given the name Seif Al-Quds ("Sword of Jerusalem") to its latest anti-Israel operations.

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