GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - A spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, warned on Thursday of renewed fighting with Israel if talks in Cairo to extend a 72-truce in Gaza collapsed.
“We appeal to the Palestinian delegation to not accept a ceasefire, unless it satisfies the demands of our people,” a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address, adding that Hamas fighters were “ready to return to battle.”
The three-day truce ending four weeks of bloodshed between Israel and Hamas, in which 1,886 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side were killed, is due to end at 5am GMT Friday (1pm Singapore time).
The sides have so far failed to negotiate an agreement to extend the truce, with the Palestinians accusing Israel of “procrastinating”.
Abu Obeida said the main demand of Hamas was the opening of a sea port for the blockaded enclave.
“We will not agree to stop the battle without a real end to the (Israeli) aggression and a real lifting of the siege,” he said.
“If there is an agreement, it will be possible to extend the truce, but if there is not, we will ask the delegation to withdraw from the talks.”
Speaking from Cairo, senior Hamas political official and delegation member Ezzat al-Rishq, said: “The resistance in Gaza and the delegation in Cairo are in one trench.”