Haniyeh Urges Restraint among Gaza Fighters

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh calls on all Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to unify and to protect Gazans from any possible Israeli aggression.

"We call upon Palestinian factions to intensify their meetings in order to reinforce the national agreement and to work in a joint spirit to protect our people and our interests and to block any possible Israeli aggression against our people," Haniyeh said before a cabinet meeting in Gaza on Tuesday.

Haniyeh said other armed groups in the Gaza Strip should observe what has amounted to a ceasefire claimed by the Israelis on the coastal enclave since the last January’s offensive, adding that the move was in the best interest of protecting Gazans from Israeli attacks.

In late December 2007, Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip under the pretext of self-defense and stopping Palestinian rocket attacks, which hardly caused any casualties or damage to properties.

The three-week onslaught killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, hundreds of women and children among them, and left thousands more amputated and injured.

Despite worldwide condemnation of the atrocities committed by the Israeli army during 22 days of extensive air, sea and ground incursions against Gazans, Tel Aviv has stepped up threats to launch another massive offensive on the densely populated coastal sliver.

In the latest round of Tel Aviv’s saber-rattling, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak threatened that the Israeli regime would take more serious measures if Hamas failed to curb rocket and missile attacks by the resistance fighters operating from Gaza.

Haniyeh said Tuesday that the chances of another war in Gaza were slim, but noted that Hamas forces were following the Israeli movements closely.

Haniyeh also addressed allegations of a fatal shooting which targeted an Egyptian soldier during border riots last week.

Egyptian officials insist that the soldier was killed by a bullet from Hamas supporters who rallied in the town of Rafah to protest Cairo’s efforts to block basic supplies from reaching Gaza through the underground tunnels.

But Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri emphasized on Tuesday that there was evidence the Egyptian border guard was shot by a friendly fire.

Whatever the case, Hamas is working in good faith "to arrive at the truth and to put measures in place that ensure Palestinian-Egyptian relations are protected," Haniyeh clarified.

(Press TV)

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