Hamas official warns of risk of war
A Syria-based Hamas leader on Wednesday warned "there could be war at any time," as the row between Damascus and Jersualem continued to escalate, DPA reported.
"Israel is an aggressive country that cannot be trusted," Moussa Abu Marzouq, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau in Damascus, told the German Press Agency dpa by telephone.
"There could be war any time. (Israel's) preparations for war have not ended since the Gaza war," he claimed.
Abu Marzouq said that the recent war of words between Syria and Israel were part of the permanent, political and verbal hostilities between the two countries, as they "are in a state of war."
Syria and Israel never signed a peace treaty after their last war, fought over the course of 20 days in 1973.
"Israel is beating the drums of war day and night, whether in Gaza or southern Lebanon, so there could be a war," Abu Marzouq said Wednesday.
His remarks followed an exchange of threats and insults between the two neighbours in recent weeks.
Israeli officials reacted angrily to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's accusation that Israel was pushing the Middle East toward a new war and Syrian Foreign Minister's charge that Israel "was planting the seeds of war."
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded by saying that al-Assad should know that if he attacked Israel, the Israelis would not only defeat him, but would also topple his regime.
Several hours after Lieberman's comments, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his ministers to refrain from discussing Syria in the media.
The Israeli government later issued a statement saying that while the country wanted peace talks with Syria, without preconditions, it would also react forcefully against any threats.
Syrian Minister of Information Mohsen Bilal on Sunday said his country was ready to "stand in the face of Israeli ambitions" and to respond to Israeli "aggression."