Hamas' al-Zahar: No talks on renewal of ceasefire with Israel
Senior Islamist group figure tells Israeli-Arab radio station that Jerusalem 'failed to implement truce agreement, did not reopen Gaza crossings as it said it would, says Hamas undeterred by possible IDF operation: 'We've been hearing talk of an Israeli invasion for the past three years'
Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar said Sunday that the Islamist group was not conducting any negotiations with Egypt on the resumption of the six-month long ceasefire with Israel, which expired last week.
"Israel did not implement the ceasefire agreement and did not reopen the Gaza crossings as it said it would," he told the Israeli-Arab radio station A-Shams.
Al-Zahar said during the interview that Hamas was undeterred by the possibility of an Israeli operation in Gaza: "We've been hearing talk of a possible Israeli invasion for the past three years. Israel is like a teenager that starts to smoke, and then stops when he chokes. If they want to enter – they're welcome to do so."
Asked to address Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki's statement according to which Cairo was talking to Hamas about resuming the truce with Israel, al-Zahar said the issue was under the sole responsibility of Egyptian Intelligence and that Zaki was in no position to speak on the Islamist group's behalf.
Referring to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, al-Zahar said no progress has been made on a possible prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, particularly now that the ceasefire has ended.
Meanwhile, sources in Gaza reported Sunday evening that a Palestinian woman was moderately injured from an IDF shell that targeted a rocket launcher in the northern part of the coastal enclave. The sources said no gunmen had been hit in the strike. The Israeli army denied launching any attack.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning that "it's clear the lull exists as long as it exists, not when Qassams and mortars are fired unstoppably and the residents' security is damaged.
"A responsible government does not run to battle, but does not avoid it. Therefore, we shall take the required means without raising the volume."
However, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said Israel's response would have been "quick" had the rocket fire from Gaza targeted the country's central region.