The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram quoted Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal on Tuesday as saying his Islamist group was surprised by the force Israel recently used against it in the Gaza Strip.
Meshal, who was speaking at an Arab conference on Gaza in the Qatari capital Doha, reportedly told a closed forum that Hamas had believed that Israel’s 22-day campaign against it would last no longer than three days. The offensive ended Sunday, after Israel and Hamas separately declared a cease-fire.
“We didn’t expect the crimes that were committed against our citizens, the residents of Gaza,” Al-Ahram quoted the Damascus-based Meshal as saying.
Approximately 500 Hamas militants were killed in the operation, Israeli estimates state, and hundreds more were wounded.
This statement is similar to the ones made by Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah after the 2006 Lebanon war.