Hamas Official: We Will 'Stay Out' of War Between Israel and Iran

Speaking to The Guardian, member of Palestinian militant group's Gaza leadership says Hamas is not part of regional alliance and will not take sides in a possible conflict.

Hamas will stay out of a possible military conflict between Israel and Iran over Tehran's contentious nuclear program, a senior Hamas official said on Tuesday, adding that the Palestinian organization was not part of regional alliances.

The comment by Salah Bardawil a member of Hamas' political leadership in Gaza, and following estimations that Iran-back militant groups in the regions, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, would aid Tehran in case of war with Israel.

Hamas police, AP, 2007

Speaking to The Guardian, Bardawil said that if "there is a war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war," adding: "Hamas is not part of military alliances in the region. Our strategy is to defend our rights."

The sentiment was echoed by another Hamas official speaking the U.K. newspaper, who said that the military group "would not get involved" in a war between Israel and Iran.

Referring to the possibility of an armed conflict involving Israel and Iran, Hezbollah deputy Sheikh Naim Qassem late last month said that an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program would set the Middle East ablaze.

"America knows that if there is a war on Iran, this means that the whole region will be set alight, with no limit to the fires," told Reuters.

Qassem also said the movement's fighters, estimated to number several thousand, were better trained and equipped to retaliate against Israel than in 2006, when Israel fought a month-long war in southern Lebanon.

"Gone are the days when Israel decides to strike, and the people are silent," he said.

"Israel could start a war ... but it does not know the scale of the consequences and it is incapable of controlling them."

The Hezbollah deputy said he believed Israel would try to drag a reluctant United States into confrontation with Tehran because it could not inflict sufficient losses on Iran alone.

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