Hamas leader downplays Israeli threats
Gaza, May 15 (IANS) Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Palestinian Hamas militant group, said that he did not "take recent Israeli assassination threats into account".
While offering condolences to the slain Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid on May 11, Sinwar called on the international community "to hold Israel accountable for its crimes" and said he was ready to show up directly on television, reports Xinhua news agency.
It was the first appearance of Sinwar, 59, after Israel threatened to assassinate him following an attack carried out in Elad, east of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, which killed three Israelis and wounded four others on May 5.
Israeli media quoted Israeli political and security sources as saying that the Jewish state considers Sinwar "a mastermind of terrorist acts, and considers itself free to work in the Gaza Strip to curb terrorism", but the army opposed the decision to assassinate him as Israeli army leaders believed the time was not ripe to implement such a decision.
Sinwar, a former detainee who spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons and was released under a prisoner exchange deal in 2011, has been the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip since 2017.