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Sinwar warns Israel: Hamas ‘won’t hesitate to take any steps if Al-Aqsa is violated’

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's Gaza governor, speaks during a meeting in Gaza City, on April 30, 2022. (Mahmud Hamas/AFP)
Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's Gaza governor, speaks during a meeting in Gaza City, on April 30, 2022. (Mahmud Hamas/AFP)

Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar threatens Israel against “violating” the Al-Aqsa Mosque in his first speech in nearly a year.

“Violating Al-Aqsa and Jerusalems means a regional, religious war,” Sinwar says. “We will not hesitate to take any steps if Al-Aqsa is violated.”

Tensions at the holy site, which is revered by both Muslims and Jews, helped touch off a war between Israel and Hamas last year.

Palestinians clashed repeatedly with Israeli forces at the site over the past month, leading to fears that the violence again spark a broader escalation.

“Our people must prepare for a great battle if the occupation does not cease its aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Sinwar adds.

Sinwar also slams Ra’am party chief Mansour Abbas. The Islamist party joined the Israeli coalition last year, becoming the first independent Arab party to become part of an Israeli government.

“I want to speak to Ra’am and the Knesset member Mansour Abbas. That you serve as a support to this government which violates Al-Aqsa is an unforgivable crime,” Sinwar says, calling for Ra’am to immediately leave the coalition.

The address was Sinwar’s first major public appearance in almost a year. Last June, the senior Hamas member gave a 90-minute speech in the aftermath of the May war with Israel, laying out his vision of what the terror group had achieved.

“If the conflict breaks out again — the shape of the Middle East will change. We have proven that there are those who defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Sinwar boasted at the time.

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