The terrorist group Hamas will continue to arm itself even if a truce agreement is signed with Israel, a senior Gaza official said Monday.

Hamas foreign relations chief Osama Hamdan said that even if a long-term ceasefire agreement is reached with Israel, the terrorist group will still pursue the destruction of the Jewish state “because it gives no credence in the Zionist entity”.

Hamdan was quoted in Palestinian media as saying that the ceasefire agreement currently being negotiated with the help of Cairo does not include the construction of a seaport or airport to serve the Hamas-led enclave.

“Everything that’s been published about this so far is a lie,” he said.

“The Zionist enemy has come to the conclusion that it is impossible to thwart Palestinian resistance,” Hamdan said, adding that Israel “will see that it made a grave mistake if the truce with Hamas fails.”

Hamdan also said that Hamas was interested in a prisoner exchange agreement “more than before”. He said the agreement is independent of the ceasefire talks, although Israel insists that no formal truce will be reached without the release of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers held in Gaza.

Numerous reports have reported that Israel is in the advanced stages talks with Hamas, through UN, Egyptian and Qatari mediation, for a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, Hamas official Husam Badran said Palestinian factions had postponed talks in Cairo on a long-term ceasefire with Israel, as well as on inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Osama Hamdan, Hamas’ international relations chief
Osama Hamdan, Hamas’ international relations chief (Screenshot)

Gaza has seen an increase in violence since the start of the “Return March” protests along the border in March. The clashes, which the Hamas rulers of Gaza have orchestrated, have included attacks with stones and Molotov cocktails against Israeli troops, as well as attempts to break through the border fence and attack Israeli citizens.

Palestinians in Gaza have also launched incendiary air strikes into Israel, burning thousands of acres of forest and farmland, resulting in millions of dollars in damage.

The clashes, which the Hamas rulers of Gaza have orchestrated, have included attacks with stones and Molotov cocktails against the troops, as well as attempts to break through the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers.

Palestinians in Gaza have also launched incendiary air strikes into Israel, burning thousands of acres of forest and farmland, resulting in millions of estimated shekels of damage.

At least 171 Gazans have been killed by Israeli gunfire since the start of the fighting, according to the Hamas-led health ministry. An Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. Hamas has acknowledged that dozens of Palestinian deaths were members of terrorist groups.

In addition, Israel and Hamas have engaged in several deadly exchanges of fire in recent months that resulted in terrorist groups firing hundreds of rockets and mortars into Israeli territory, including one earlier this month that was the largest escalation of violence since 2014 war.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and Egyptian officials have been seeking to negotiate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas. The two sides have fought three wars since 2008.

Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza to prevent weapons and other military equipment from entering the Strip.