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Hamas Has Upper Hand in Gaza, Set to Win Standoff With Israel – Senior Official

RIA Novosti

13:18 29/07/2014

CAIRO, July 29 (RIA Novosti) – Leadership of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas is certain its fighters will get the upper hand over Israeli troops engaged in a ground operation in Gaza, a senior Hamas official told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

"Yes, the correlation of forces is beyond comparison, but we have men who are capable of stopping and vanquishing the aggressor. And now we also have lots of 'legitimate aims' inside the Gaza Strip itself," Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, said in a comment on the Israeli Army, which is considered to have no parallel in the region in terms of its military potential.

Marzouk stressed that Hamas insurgents were in a position of power in the Gazan battlefield. "As far as the situation on the battlefield goes, we are winning," the Hamas political leader said.

He added it was for the first time in the militant group's standoff with Israel that the Gaza-based movement managed to kill over 80 enemy soldiers without taking the life of a single innocent. "All kills were soldiers who fell in the battlefield," Marzouk claimed.

The Hamas official emphasized its only goal was to defeat the enemy in Gaza, including using hostage swaps to give impetus to peace dialogue.

"We plan to accomplish the goals of the resistance by means of hostage exchanges," Marzouk told RIA Novosti, adding Hamas's military wing had allegedly captured an Israeli soldier he identified as "Shaul Aron." He also said the hostage was held in Gaza.

Mousa Abu Marzouk also admitted there was still a chance to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian standoff politically, saying "the war cannot continue indefinitely."

He added however that Israel's increased involvement in international dialogue to settle stop violence in the region was meant to compensate for its lack of moral high ground resulting from an increasing death toll among civilians in Gaza.

"Gaza continues to be targeted by violent attacks from air, land and sea. The tally of slaughtered civilians has passed 1,050 people. Up to 2,000 homes have been torn down after taking direct hits from missiles. Over 12,000 homes have been partially damaged and rendered unfit to live in. Mosques, schools and hospitals come under massive, unparalleled mortar attacks," the Hamas official said.

On July 8, Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge aiming to put an end to rocket fire from Gaza and to undermine the Hamas movement, which controls the region. After nine days of intense missile fire exchange, the Israeli Army switched to a ground assault, largely aimed at locating and destroying underground tunnels dug by militants to sneak into Israel and transport weapons.

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