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Senior Hamas official says group interested in peace but ready for war: report

Osama Hamdan, who handles foreign relations for Hamas, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday May 2, 2012
AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Hamas has stated it will defend the Gaza Strip against “another aggression” from Israel but it would rather see the implementation of the 2014 truce agreement, according to statements by a senior official reported by Gaza-based Falestin newspaper.

Osama Hamdan, who is a long-standing leader of Hamas’ political wing in Lebanon, reportedly said Israel would “pay a heavy price it if chose to launch an aggression on the Gaza Strip.”

Israel “will not be able to devour us, and the price will be higher and more horrific than its leaders can imagine,” he reportedly added.

Hamdan reportedly denied his organization would take part in peace talks with Israel or toward "national reconciliation" with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party. 

"No one can be complicit in the Israel blockade and at the same time claim to be patriotic," Hamdan stated, likely referring the Abbas government. 

Hamdan’s comments coincide with a visit by Jamie McGoldrick, UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Mideast Peace Process, who arrived in Gaza on Saturday. Some speculate the UN envoy will meet with Hamas in Gaza in connection with ongoing talks in Cairo mediated by Egyptian officials.

Three Palestinians were killed in Friday during clashes with Israeli Defense Forces, including a 12-year-old boy, on Gaza’s border with Israel, where residents of the blockaded enclave have participated in violent protests since March.

Said KHATIB (AFP)

The UN has actively cautioned all parties against escalating tensions, making it likely McGoldrick’s visit is aimed toward de-escalation.

On Saturday night, approximately 450 Gazans gathered at several points along the border fence, several of whom hurled a number of pipe bombs and three grenades according to an IDF statement.

The IDF “responded with riot dispersal means and operated in accordance with the standard operating procedures,” the statement added.

No injuries to Israeli troops were reported.

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