Monday, March 4, 2024

Khaled Mashaal: Hamas prepared for long battle

The armed wing of Hamas is prepared for a long war with Israel, the Palestinian group's former Chief and senior leader Khaled Mashaal told a Turkish newspaper.

Mashaal said in an interview with Yeni Safak daily the armed group has 35,000 fighters who have planned to fight a war “that would last months”.

He added that Israeli society did not expect Hamas fighters would put up such a resistance.

“On the contrary, [Israeli] senior officers are dying every day. [Israel] could neither end Hamas, save its hostages, or make Palestinians go to Egypt,” he stated during a visit to Istanbul.

“Israel could not get the Mujahideen (fighters) to raise the white flag and surrender. The situation in Israeli society is also getting worse. There is an opposite situation in Gaza. Despite the obstacles they face, Qassam warriors continue to fight like it’s the first day.”

Mashaal said that the US was enabling Israel to “finish off” Hamas but was suffering as a result.

“Civilian deaths in Gaza are frequently mentioned in the world and the situation worries the US. There is an election in the US and they are afraid that [Biden’s votes] will decrease. A negative picture emerged before these elections. US President Joe Biden is now trying to push back,” he added.

Hamas operatives attacked Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking roughly 240 hostages. In the nine weeks since, Israeli strikes have killed 19,000 people in Gaza and injured more than 50,000, according to figures released on Thursday by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques and churches, have been damaged or destroyed in the Israeli offensive. According to a UN report, almost a fifth of Gaza’s buildings have been damaged or destroyed during the Israeli campaign.

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