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Palestinian resistance ‘ready’ for defense in case of ‘israeli’ attack on Rafah: Hamas

Head of the politburo of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has issued a stern warning against any Israeli military operation on the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, stressing that Palestinian resistance groups are ready to defend themselves and the besieged territory.

Ismail Haniyeh raised the alarm in an exclusive interview with the Turkish Anadolu news agency on Sunday after with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and discussing the latest developments in Gaza amid Israel’s plans to carry out a broad offensive in Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering.

Haniyeh warned against a possible military operation by the Israeli occupation army in Rafah and said the offensive could lead to a massacre against the Palestinian people.

“I call on all brotherly countries, our brothers in Egypt, our brothers in Turkey, our brothers in Qatar as mediators, and the European countries to take action to restrain (Israeli) aggression and prevent the operation in Rafah, as well as the complete withdrawal (of the Israeli army) from the Gaza Strip and the end of the attacks on Gaza,” he said.

Pointing to the resistance of the Palestinian people in the southern Gaza city, Haniyeh said, “If the Zionist enemy enters into Rafah, Palestinian people will not raise the white flag. The resistance fighters in Rafah are ready to defend themselves and resist attacks.”

The Hamas chief also censured the US administration’s duplicity and untrammeled support for the Israeli regime’s months-long aggression on Gaza.

“The US position is deceptive, even though it says it does not want civilians to be harmed, this is an attempt at manipulation. All the civilians killed in Gaza, thousands, tens of thousands of martyrs, were killed with US weapons, with US rockets, under US political protection,” Haniyeh said.

“What does the US veto of the cease-fire resolution at the UNSC mean? It means that the US is giving full protection and umbrella to the continuation of the massacres and murders against Gaza,” he added.

The Hamas leader also said Israel, which first heavily bombed Gaza from the air and before entering by land, adopted a strategy based on killing, imposing military and humanitarian blockades as well as destroying Palestinian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, bakeries, pharmacies, and factories.

“For over five months, nothing entered Gaza. Hunger was used as a weapon to break the people’s will and to pressure them to migrate from north to south. It is a very difficult situation in terms of both the number of martyrs and wounded, as well as those trapped under the rubble,” Haniyeh said.

“There are thousands of martyrs buried under the rubble. Every day we discover new mass graves.”

Haniyeh underlined that at least 500 trucks need to enter Gaza daily for the reconstruction of hospitals, bakeries, infrastructure, and shelters.

Turkish media reports said Haniyeh and Erdogan discussed during their meeting on Saturday Israel’s attacks on Palestinian lands as well as efforts needed to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The two also discussed measures to achieve a fair and lasting peace process in Palestine to end Israel’s decades-long occupation.

Israel waged a genocidal war on the besieged Gaza on October 7 after the Hamas-led Palestinian resistance group carried out a historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 34,049 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 76,901 others.

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