Israel's threats against Gaza unacceptable, says Hamas leader


Gaza, Aug 4 : Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that the threats of Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz against the Gaza Strip were unacceptable, amid rising tensions after Israeli soldiers arrested an Islamic Jihad leader. Haniyeh made the remarks during a phone conversation with Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, according to a statement issued by the Hamas leader's office in Gaza. "The threats of the Israeli leaders, especially Benny Gantz, are unacceptable," Xinhua news agency quoted Haniyeh as saying. Bassam al-Saadi, a prominent leader of Islamic Jihad movement, another faction in the Gaza Strip committed to violently resisting Israel, was arrested by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank early this week. Since then Israeli forces have been on high alert near the Gaza Strip for fear of retaliation. After al-Saadi was detained, Gantz threatened to use force against the Gaza Strip to bring life back to normal in the Israeli towns in the vicinity of the coastal enclave. The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007 and is currently ruled by Hamas. "If it is not possible to return to the routine of normal life in the Gaza Strip's vicinity, there will be no normal life inside the Gaza Strip either," the Defence Minister told Israel Radio. Haniyeh called on the United Nations to "constrain the Israeli occupation and prevent it from harming the Palestinian people," adding that the UN "has a major role in this context". /IANS


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