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Hamas chief hails ‘victory in battle for Jerusalem’; claims ‘new balance of power’ with Israel

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh says the terror group has set “a new balance of power” with Israel following a barrage of rockets on central Israel.

“We have achieved victory in the battle for Jerusalem, the defense of Jerusalem,” Haniyeh says. He later adds: “Jerusalem is the axis of conflict.”

Haniyeh also mentions what he deems a series of “victories” by Palestinians in recent months, among them preventing the annual march of right-wing religious nationalist Jews through Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day and the delay in pending evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.

“We were victorious when our people said ‘no to the displacement of our people in Sheikh Jarrah,'” Haniyeh says.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a meeting with foreign reporters in Gaza City on June 20, 2019 (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

“Today, Gaza answered the call… for how could Gaza drag its feet when it comes to Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque?” he says.

Today’s battles with Israel — including an unprecedented barrage of rockets on the country’s center — have rewritten the rules of the game, Haniyeh says.

“What is taking place right now is an honor for our people, our nation,” Haniyeh says. “There is a new balance of power right now.”

Haniyeh also mentions the unrest between Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis in cities across the country. “Gaza and Jerusalem and the 1948 areas are moving together,” he says.

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