Published On: Uto, lip 1st, 2021

After Gaza War, Hamas Chief Calls for Israel Prisoner Swap

It fired over 4,000 rockets toward Israeli cities during the fighting, while Israeli warplanes struck some 1,000 targets in Gaza. More than 250 people were killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians living in Hamas-ruled Gaza, and parts of the territory suffered heavy damage.

“Today, by the grace of Allah, after this victory of May 2021, our Palestinian cause is making tangible and clear progress,” Sinwar said.

Speaking to foreign reporters on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that any reconstruction of Gaza would depend on progress in the issue of returning captive Israelis held by Hamas.

“We are willing to help with fixing the area, rebuilding it, construction, etc. But it’s conditioned with the return of our boys back home, the abducted soldiers,” he said.

Gantz also said the rules have changed in Israel’s dealings with Hamas and vowed a much harsher response to any violations of the new cease-fire.

“We will brutally retaliate, but we will do it in our own time and will not accept the previous reality to show itself again,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, another senior Hamas official said Israel must halt its “aggression” in both Gaza and Jerusalem if it wants calm following this month’s fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“We discussed several files, most importantly the necessity to oblige the occupation to stop its aggression on Gaza, Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah and all over Palestine,” Khalil al-Haya told reporters. He said Israel must also fully lift the blockade it imposed on Gaza when Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

“If this happens, then calm and stability could return,” he said.

Al-Haya ruled out linking Gaza’s reconstruction to Hamas’ release of Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, the two Israeli civilians held captive and the remains of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two soldiers killed in the 2014 war. Instead, the militant group is likely to demand the release of a large number of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Sinwar intimated Monday that Hamas is demanding the release of over 1,100 prisoners held by Israel, more than the number freed in a 2011 exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Sinwar himself was freed from Israeli prison in that trade.

The Egyptian-brokered truce has held but did not address any of the underlying issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since 2008.

On Sunday, Israeli troops shot a Palestinian man who sneaked into the country from the Gaza Strip with a knife. The military confirmed the incident on Monday but did not provide details on his condition.

The military said the suspect carried a knife and infiltrated the fenced border near Moshav Sde Avraham, a few kilometers (miles) from the coastal territory. A security guard told Israeli media on Monday that the suspect stabbed him.

The army said the suspect had been moved to a nearby hospital but his condition was not immediately known. Israeli authorities were trying to figure out how the suspect snuck across the fenced border.