TEL AVIV – The newly elected leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip said on Wednesday that the terror group will not stop attacking Israel until “the liberation of all of Palestine.”
Yahya Sinwar, who replaced Ismail Haniyyeh, said Hamas would not allow even a “morsel” of Israel to exist, the Times of Israel reported citing Hebrew-language media reports.
Sinwar was speaking at an event marking the anniversary of the death of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 2004 in Gaza City, the report said.
“Hamas will continue in the path of Yassin for the liberation of all of Palestine — we will not surrender even a morsel,” he said.
A founding member of Hamas’ military wing, Sinwar recently took over as chief of the terror group in internal elections. Sinwar was released from an Israeli jail in the 2011 prisoner swap for captured soldier Gilad Shalit after serving 23 years of his prison sentence.
Sinwar, who was sentenced to four life terms, was outspoken against the Shalit prisoner swap that brought about his release because he viewed the terms – one Israeli soldier for 1,027 prisoners – as surrendering to Israel.
In an attempt to moderate its image and remove it from Western terrorist lists, Hamas has drafted a new manifesto in which references to jihad are toned down. However, the manifesto is not meant to replace the group’s founding charter which calls for the destruction of Israel and “confronting the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews through jihad.”
According to an Israeli official cited by Hebrew news site Walla, Sinwar’s election carries “heavy significance” and has split Hamas into different camps. The report added that Sinwar spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a spacious building once belonging to the Moroccan embassy to serve as his future office.