Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh Photo by AP
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Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, relayed a secret message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to restrain Israeli military operations against the coastal territory, Israel's Walla news portal reported on Tuesday.

The message, which indicated that Hamas is looking to avoid confrontation with Israel, was delivered to the Prime Minister's Office two weeks via Gershon Baskin, the Israeli academic who helped secure the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit by mediating between Hamas and Israel.

Baskin confirmed the report to Walla, however Haniyeh's office denied the report. Israel has not commented.

Haniyeh's message came following the escalation of violence on the border, following several recent rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli military retaliation. Hamas units designed to thwart rocket attacks by militant factions were among the targets of Israeli strikes in recent weeks.

Hamas withdrew forces along the border, a step seen by Israel as a green light for militant groups to launch rockets at Israel.