Hamas armed wing says interested in keeping calm in Gaza
The armed wing of the Islamic Hamas movement on Saturday said it is interested in keeping the situation in the Gaza Strip calm though truce with Israel has been fragile, Xinhua reported.
Ezz El-Deen al-Qassam Brigades "wants to keep the Palestinian people away from suffering from war and aggression," said Abu Obaida, spokesman for the brigades, in a news conference in Gaza City.
However, if Israel chooses confrontation, "we are ready and will resist regardless the price and the Zionists will pay an expensive price," he added.
Abu Obaida's remarks came a day after Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas strongman in Gaza, renewed commitment to the ceasefire that Israel and Hamas declared separately after the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the operation Cast Lead, that ended in January 2009.
The Hamas appears to try to contain the situation after smaller militant groups increased rocket attacks at Israel. The firing of mortars and crude missiles from Gaza led to calls among the Israeli military and diplomatic levels for an operation in Gaza to deter the Palestinian groups.
Earlier last week, Israeli air force killed five militants preparing to fire a rocket in central Gaza Strip. Israel has carried out airstrikes on Hamas military sites this week for the first time since the end of the Operation Cast Lead.
"Our calmness is not a result of fear or weakness, we are evaluating the situation," Abu Obaida said, warning that this calmness "may not last for long."
Operation Cast Lead left some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. In addition, thousands of Palestinian houses and buildings run by Hamas government were damaged or destroyed.