GAZA, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A senior Hamas official says the Palestinian militant group has no intention of ending its rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
Mahmoud Zahar, speaking Monday in a televised address from an undisclosed location in Gaza, said Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have bestowed "legitimacy" to Hamas' continued firing of Qassam rockets, CNN reported.
"We salute the resistance men," Zarah said in the address. "They (Israeli forces) shelled everyone in Gaza … they shelled children and hospitals and mosques and in doing so, they gave us legitimacy to strike them in the same way."
Zahar, who co-founded Hamas and served as the Palestinian foreign minister under the Hamas-led government before it was dissolved by President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, said Israel's massive airstrikes and military incursion into Gaza were the real issue, CNN said.
"Our demands are clear: The problem is not in the Qassam rockets," he said. "The problem is in the aggression and the troops and the siege imposed on us."