The leader of Hamas in Gaza has called for a cease-fire with Israel, according to reports.
In an interview with an Israeli newspaper, Yehya Sinwar said he didn’t want a war.
“A new war is in no one’s interest, certainly not our interest,” Mr. Sinwar said in the interview in the newspaper Yediot Ahronot. “Who really wants to confront a nuclear superpower with four slingshots? War doesn’t achieve anything.”
The interview for the Israeli newspaper was Sinwar’s first to the Israeli media since he became the top official in Hamas.
To the question of why he gave the interview to an Israeli newspaper, Sinwar said: “Because I now see a real opportunity for change.
“I’m not saying I won’t fight anymore; I’m saying I don’t want more wars,” he said.
“What I want is the end of the siege,” he added.
Tension between Hamas and Israel have increased as Hamas has protested along the Israeli border, calling for returning Palestinian land to what is now Israel.
Then last week, Israeli soldiers shot dead seven Palestinians, including two boys, ages 12 and 14. Israeli officials said the soldiers opened fire after rioters sabotaged security infrastructure and threw grenades and other explosives at the fence and soldiers.
The Israeli military says it plans on sending “wide-scale” reinforcements to the area.
Sinwar, meanwhile, told the newspaper that the group will fight back if necessary.
“It’s important to clarify: If we are attacked, we will protect ourselves, as always, and we’ll have another war. But then, in a year, you’ll be here again and I’ll tell you again that war doesn’t achieve anything,” Sinwar said.
Sinwar’s office later said that the interview was conducted by an Italian correspondent and “sold” to the Israeli newspaper.