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Hamas leader seeks to destroy Israel, prime minister says

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 9, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.

— Israel's prime minister said comments by the leader of Hamas shows that the Palestinian militant group wants to destroy Israel.

In his first reference to Khaled Mashaal's visit to the Gaza Strip, Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday that a speech given by Mashaal a day earlier showed that Hamas remained an enemy to the Jewish state.

Netanyahu said: "We have been exposed once again, over the past day, to the true face of our enemies. They have no intention of compromising with us. They want to destroy our country, but they will obviously fail."

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, does not recognize the existence of the state of Israel. Mashaal, its exiled leader, arrived for his first-ever visit to the coastal territory on Friday.

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