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Hamas Guarding Against Military Conflict With Israel Over Syria

Hamas said it has deployed forces to guard against any confrontation with Israel in connection with a possible U.S. strike on Syria, a Ministry of Interior spokesman said.

The spokesman, Islam Shahwan, said police and security forces were deployed across the territory at the order of Interior Minister Fathi Hamad of Hamas.

“The government won an agreement from all factions, political powers and militant groups in the Gaza Strip not to retaliate and to unite in case of any military strike on Syria,” Shahwan said.

At the same time, “the government is very much concerned and on alert that some minor militant groups that follow foreign agendas might influence or disturb Gaza’s internal stability and security,” he said. “Our ministry is on alert and keeping an eye out for fear Gaza will be dragged into a military confrontation” with Israel.

U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress, which reconvenes next week, to authorize a strike on Syria for what the administration alleges is the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in an attack outside Damascus last month. Syria denies the allegations and its ally Iran has warned that U.S. action against the Assad government would unleash retaliatory strikes on Israel.

Hamas, which itself has often warred with Israel, broke with onetime backer Syria over its war against rebels. The Gaza group, which Israel considers a terrorist movement, was also weakened last month by the loss of its patron in Egypt, the ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

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