Hamas: Victory is close


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip said victory is close.

"We trust Allah and know that he is by our side despite what people are trying to tell you to affect your spirits; I say that victory is close," Ismail Haniyeh, the Gazan prime minister, said Monday in a taped message released from his hiding place.

Haniyeh said he would cooperate with initiatives that would end Israel’s actions in Gaza, where fighting has raged since last month when Hamas ended a fragile cease-fire, but vowed to continue fighting "occupying forces."

Israel has conditioned a cease-fire on Hamas ending its rocket fire and the smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Israel has killed or driven much of the Hamas leadership underground during the war. Fighting has killed more than 900 Palestinians — about half of them civilians, according to some reports — and 13 Israelis, including four civilians.

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