Hamas' political chief Khaled Meshal has vowed to keep fighting Israel until the country meets its terms for a permanent truce, while accusing Israel of carrying out a Holocaust in the Strip and replicating Adolf Hitler.
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"We are determined to realize the demands of the Palestinian people, especially lifting the siege and securing the release of [Palestinian] detainees," Meshal, who is based in Qatar, told the Turkish Andalou Agency in an interview on Thursday.
Egypt-brokered talks for a long-term cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed Tuesday with renewed rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli strikes on the Strip. The death toll in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge has passed 2,000, while Israel has lost 67 people, including 64 soldiers.
Meshal spoke to Andalou before a meeting, scheduled for Thursday evening, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. PA sources told Haaretz that Meshal may also travel to Cairo on Friday to meet again with Abbas as well as Egyptian officials.
"Our message to the world is that it's high time to deal with the root cause of the problem by ending the [Israeli] occupation and settlement building and allowing the Palestinian people to live in peace on their own land," Andalou cited Meshal as saying.
Meshal then accused Israel of carrying out a "holocaust."
"What Israel has done in the Gaza Strip over the last 45 days is a genuine holocaust," he said. "They are killing children, destroying residential areas, mosques, hospitals and UNRWA-run schools."He added that "Israel is replicating what Hitler did years ago."
The Hamas leader also said that the recent report that Israel arrested 93 Hamas operatives on suspicion of setting up a network of cells to commit attacks against Israel and to carry out a coup of the Palestinian Authority was "a groundless claim."