In a bid to avoid an Israeli military strike in the Gaza Strip, Hamas reiterated on Monday its commitment to preserving the unofficial truce with Israel.
The announcement came following reports that suggested that Israel was planning to carry out a military operation in the Gaza Strip following the recent spate of rocket and mortar attacks.RELATED:IAF attacks Hamas terror tunnel in northern Gaza StripIsrael vows to avenge Gaza mortar barrageFacing an unreformed Hamas
Abu Obaida, spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, said: "If the enemy agrees to avoid escalation and stop the aggression on our people, Hamas will also abide [by the truce]."
He confirmed that Hamas was behind last Saturday's barrage of mortar attacks
on Israel. He claimed that the attacks were a "natural response to the ongoing crimes of the Zionist enemy."
Abu Obaida said that the attacks came in response to the recent killing by the IDF of Ghassan Abu Amer and Adnan Ishtawi, two Hamas activists.
"The enemy will pay a heavy price if it continues its aggression on the Gaza Strip," the spokesman cautioned.
In another development, efforts to secure a visit to the Gaza Strip by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas suffered a setback on Monday when Hamas advised him not to come unless he wanted to end the dispute with the Islamist movement.
Abbas, who last week declared his readiness to travel to the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas leaders,
said that the visit was only intended to discuss the formation of a new government and not the issue of reconciliation with Hamas.
His announcement drew sharp criticism from many Hamas leaders, who accused him of "deception."
Izzat Risheq, a senior Hamas leader based in Syria, said that if Abbas's
goal was to only talk about a new government, then he should not visit
the Gaza Strip.
"Abbas wants his visit to the Gaza Strip to be a public relations
stunt," Risheq said. "He wants to appear as the liberator of the Gaza
Strip. If he doesn't want to talk to Hamas and other factions about
national reconciliation, then there's no reason for him to go to the