Hamas: Israel lying to justify next war

Hamas Israel trying to

Hamas on Saturday claimed IDF reports that the group had test-fired long-range rockets were an Israeli attempt to justify a new military operation in the Gaza Strip, DPA reported. "These claims are part of the Israeli lies to justify a new aggression on the Gaza Strip," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum was quoted as saying. "Such threats are coming under the title of incitement and creating pretexts in order to commit more new crimes against Gaza and cover up the previous crimes that were committed during the last war," Barhoum reportedly said, referring to Operation Cast Lead. On Friday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi stressed that if Hamas continues to launch rockets at Israel, the IDF will have no choice but to conduct another operation in Gaza. "We are learning lessons and we will correct our mistakes," he said while speaking to high school students in Beersheba concerning last winter's Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone Commission's scathing report. Earlier in November, OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin revealed that the terrorist group had test-fired a rocket with a 60-km. range. Yadlin told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the IDF had detected the launch of a rocket with a 60-km. range from the Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea. The missile, officials said, was probably a version of an Iranian-made artillery rocket that is 5 meters long and can carry a 45-kg. warhead. To increase the rocket's range, they noted, Hamas had the option of shrinking the warhead to 25 or 30 kg., enabling it to strike deeper into Tel Aviv. Yaakov Katz contributed to this report