Sinwar claims Hamas working on way to break Gaza maritime blockade

Sinwar stated talks are in "full swing" on establishing a maritime line to "break the siege completely."

YAHYA SINWAR, leader of Hamas in Gaza, gestures on stage during a rally in Gaza City on May 24 (photo credit: ATIA MOHAMMED/FLASH90)
YAHYA SINWAR, leader of Hamas in Gaza, gestures on stage during a rally in Gaza City on May 24
(photo credit: ATIA MOHAMMED/FLASH90)

Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, claimed that Hamas was working with other parties to operate a maritime line to the Strip in order to bypass the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave, during a speech on Saturday.

Sinwar added that consultations and preparations on this issue are "in full swing" in order to "break the siege completely," but did not elaborate on how such a line would get past the Israeli blockade.

The Hamas leader additionally reiterated warnings to Israel against "attacking" al-Aqsa Mosque, claiming that the movement would fire a barrage of 1,111 rockets in the next conflict with Israel.

"Our people and our nation must prepare for a big battle if the occupation does not stop attacking al-Aqsa Mosque," said Sinwar. "Harming al-Aqsa and Jerusalem means a regional war, and we will not hesitate to take any decision with our sanctities."

The Hamas leader addressed the other Palestinian factions in Gaza saying that they must be on alert "for the battle did not end with the end of Ramadan, but will really begin with its end."

 Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 22, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90) Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 22, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

Sinwar additionally claimed that Israelis plan to "storm" the al-Aqsa Mosque on either Israeli Independence Day or Jerusalem Day. Palestinian officials often refer to Jewish visits at Jewish holy sites as "storming."

Jewish visitors to the site do not enter the al-Aqsa Mosque and instead walk on a set path around the Temple Mount. As of Saturday night, the complex remained closed to Jewish visitors due to the end of Ramadan, with police not having announced as of yet when the site will be reopened.

Last year, Operation Guardian of the Walls broke out after Palestinian factions in Gaza fired rockets towards Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day. The operation was preceded by weeks of tensions surrounding the Temple Mount and planned evacuations of Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

'1,111 rockets'

The Hamas leader threatened to fire a barrage of 1,111 rockets at the beginning of the next conflict with Israel, saying that the number of rockets refers to the date of the death of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat, that died on November 11, 2004.

Sinwar added that Hamas wanted to "give a great opportunity" to what he called "popular movements" in the West Bank, Jerusalem and within the Green Line. The Hamas leader referred to the West Bank as the "real battlefield" against Israel.

The speech by Sinwar comes after weeks of tensions surrounding Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque and a series of terror attacks in Beersheba, Hadera, Bnei Brak, Tel Aviv and Ariel.

A number of rockets were fired in recent weeks from Gaza towards southern Israel, although no faction took responsibility for the rocket fire and no further rocket fire from Gaza was recorded after Israel temporarily closed the Erez Crossing with the Strip.