A Turkey-based member of Hamas' political bureau said the militant movement has no interest in opening a new war against Israel, although if one is opened "the loss will be much greater" than in Operation Protective Edge.
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Saleh Arouri said in an interview published Monday by Hamas-affiliated site Arsalanet that "we won't initiate a war with the enemy, but if Israel coerces war on us, we will fight and surprise." He stressed, "The pressure on Palestinians in Jerusalem led to an outbreak of rage, and continuing the siege will lead to a renewal of rage."
According to Israel, Arouri, who lives in Turkey, is the one behind the establishment of Hamas infrastructure and terror cells in the West Bank. He denied this accusation in the interview.
Arouri said the goal of Israel when it announces that it has uncovered Hamas cells while still in the planning stage is "to hurt any future effort to operate against the occupation by misrepresenting Israeli moves against Hamas, which succeeded in hurting it."
On Friday, after two months of relative quiet, militants in Gaza fired rockets into Israel, which fell in the Eshkol Regional Council. The Israel Defense Forces responded with an attack on Gaza, its first since Operation Protective Edge.
Hamas then issued a statement warning Israel against continued attacks and called on the international community to stop Israeli "aggression against the Palestinian people." Hamas officials described the Israeli attack as stupid and said that it constitutes a serious escalation and a violation of the existing calm between the Palestinian factions and Israel.