A Palestinian checks his damaged house in Beit Lahia town, northern Gaza Strip, on Dec. 9, 2017. Israeli war jets carried out airstrikes at around 3:45 am Saturday. They struck with missiles three military posts that belong to Hamas in northern, central and southern Gaza Strip. (Xinhua Photo)
JERUSALEM, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday accused the Palestinian Hamas of trying to establish a foothold in southern Lebanon to launch attacks against Israel.
"Hamas, which finds it harder to carry out attacks from the Gaza Strip, is now trying to launch attacks from the West Bank and is also trying in new arenas, first of all in southern Lebanon to threaten the State of Israel," Liberman told journalists.
The hawkish minister has a history of furious statements against Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist organization that runs the Gaza Strip.
"We will not allow two-faced Hamas to talk about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and on the other hand to try carrying out terror attacks in the West Bank or to build terror infrastructures in southern Lebanon," Lieberman said.
Lieberman also pointed out "the sudden friendship" between Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas commander living in Lebanon, and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. "This is something we are following," he said.
The remarks came five days after a man identified by Hamas' branch in Lebanon as a Hamas official was killed in a car bomb blast in Sidon, a southern port city in Lebanon.
Israel remained mum on the case but Hamas blamed Israel for perpetrating the assassination.
Hamas is based in Gaza but has branches elsewhere in the Middle East.
The organization has fought three wars with Israel over the past decade. The last one took place in 2014, during which Israeli forces killed at least 2,251 people in Gaza, mainly civilians, according to the United Nations figures. At the same time, 67 Israeli soldiers and four civilians were killed by Palestinian militants.
The 51-day war ended with a fragile truce, which was violated several times but has never escalated to a fully-fledged war.