Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday the group would not stop smuggling activities in the territory. Stopping smuggling is a central Israeli demand in an Egyptian-brokered Gaza ceasefire agreed between Israel and Hamas that came into force on Thursday.
Palestinian groups smuggle arms and ammunitions into Gaza through tunnels across the border with Egypt and on boats along the coast. Israel has also demanded Egypt step up efforts stop the flow of arms into Gaza.
"We cannot talk about stopping smuggling because it is something beyond our ability as a government and we did not give a commitment in this regard," Haniyeh told worshippers before Friday prayers in Gaza City.
'Deal includes complete end to arms smuggling'
Haniyeh also said Hamas would not to impose the truce by force on other Gaza militant groups, but added that other groups had agreed to the deal voluntarily.
Egypt, who spent months working on the agreement, said it would step up efforts to crackdown on smuggling.
Mark Regev, spokesman to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said the ceasefire agreement included an end to attacks on Israel by all militant groups and a complete end to arms smuggling.
"Anyone who says otherwise apparently wants to destroy the calm before it has a chance to really succeed," Regev said.