Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said the Islamist group would continue to "fight against Israel in political, diplomatic and media fields," Turkey's English-language news portal Today's Zaman reported Sunday.
Speaking with the semi-official Anatolia news agency during his weekend visit to Turkey, Mashaal said that Palestinians want to save their territory from Israeli occupation and create a Palestinian state on this land, according to the report. Mashaal - who met with senior Turkish officials including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gül - said that the Gaza-ruling Hamas values its ties with Turkey, deeming them "very important."
Turkey has been an outspoken supporter of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including in the escalation of violence last week that erupted after Israel assassinated a terrorist leader it said was orchestrating a large terrorist attack against Israelis.
Mashaal said that Palestinian rockets were fired at Israel only after the IDF attacks Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip, and said "Hamas' missile attacks from Gaza on Israel were self-defense," according to the report.
While Israel believes Hamas was probably not firing rockets in the last spate of violence - in which over 200 rockets were launched from Gaza at southern communities in Israel - Jerusalem holds the Islamist group responsible for attacks emanating from terrorist groups like Iran-backed Islamic Jihad or the Popular Resistance Committees.