Hamas deputy chief: The fighting has not begun yet

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

In this photo released on October 25, 2023, by the Hezbollah Media Relations Office, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, right, meets with Ziad al-Nakhaleh, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, center, and Hamas deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, in Beirut, Lebanon. (Hezbollah Media Relations Office, via AP )
In this photo released on October 25, 2023, by the Hezbollah Media Relations Office, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, right, meets with Ziad al-Nakhaleh, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, center, and Hamas deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, in Beirut, Lebanon. (Hezbollah Media Relations Office, via AP )

Saleh al-Arouri, the Lebanon-based deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, says that “the battles have not begun yet.”

In a phone interview with al-Manar, the TV channel of Hezbollah, al-Arouri says that Hamas leaders are in constant communication with Hezbollah, and reveals that he met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on October 7, the day of Hamas’ onslaught on Israel, and that not all their meetings are made public.

Al-Arouri had a publicized meeting yesterday with Nasrallah and Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhaleh.

“Our battle is also Hezbollah’s battle,” he adds.

“If the enemy enters by land, it will be an unprecedented defeat [for Israel],” he continues, referring to the anticipated Israeli ground incursion into Gaza, and claims that Hamas terrorists are in good condition in spite of Israeli strikes on the Strip.

Al-Arouri further addresses the issue of the hostages held by Hamas, and says that the foreigners are “guests” but the Israeli prisoners will be exchanged for Hamas detainees in Israel.

Many of the some 220 hostages have foreign citizenship.

He also calls on the people of the West Bank to “escalate the resistance by any means.”

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