Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar tells Palestinian journalists that fighting between Hamas and Israel could renew if the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is “violated.”
“The occupation must know — Al-Aqsa has men who will defend it,” Sinwar says.
Unrest and Israeli police raids on the mosque compound in the Temple Mount in early May preceded the Hamas rocket barrage on Israeli cities and towns that began the 11-day conflict.
“What has happened is but a drill for what will come if Israel violates the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Sinwar says.
He also praises Arab Israeli riots in which Jewish Israelis and their property were attacked in recent weeks. He says that there are “10,000 suicide bombers in Israel” willing to respond to any Israeli “violations” in Jerusalem.
He says Arab Israelis “have proven that so-called ‘Israelification’ — the attempt to turn them into Israeli citizens rather than Palestinians — and ‘coexistence’ have fallen once and for all,” Sinwar says.
Sinwar also dismisses an Israeli operation to bomb Hamas’s underground network of tunnels, ahead of which Israel attempted to convince Hamas its ground forces were entering Gaza in order to get it to send its men into the tunnels.
“It was clear to our military intelligence that this was a deception, and that there was no ground invasion,” Sinwar says.