RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - The leader of Hamas suggested Saturday that the Islamic group could create a Palestinian army that would include its militant wing - responsible for scores of deadly attacks on Israelis - in the aftermath of its crushing victory in parliamentary elections.
Israeli officials condemned the plan, demanding that Hamas renounce violence. Palestinian security officers, including loyalists from the defeated Fatah Party, said they would never submit to Hamas control.
“Hamas has no power to meddle with the security forces,” said Jibril Rajoub, a Palestinian strongman. The Hamas chief, Khaled Mashaal, reiterated that Hamas would not recognize Israel and indicated attacks on Israeli civilians would continue as long as Israel continued to target Palestinian civilians. “As long as we are under occupation then resistance is our right,” he said.