JERUSALEM – The Islamic militant group Hamas is developing a rocket with a range long enough to hit cities in Israel, one of the group's leaders said in an interview.
Moussa Abu Marzook told the CBS' 60 Minutes that the rocket would have a range of six miles, and would be able to hit Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem from inside the West Bank.
CBS said the interview will be aired Sunday, but a summary was released Thursday.
Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement, has been responsible for dozens of attacks, including suicide bombings in Israel, killing dozens of Israelis and wounding hundreds during 16 months of Palestinian-Israeli violence.
Israeli military sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel is aware of attempts by militant groups to develop weapons that can hit inside Israel.
There have been reports that Hamas is developing rockets named Qassem-1 and Qassem-2, and the Israeli military has said that short-range rockets were fired at Gaza targets along with conventional mortar shells, but their range did not approach six miles.
A longer-range rocket could hit several Israeli villages and the city of Ashkelon from inside Gaza, and from the West Bank, many Israeli cities and towns could be targeted.
Abu Marzook was interviewed in Beirut two weeks ago, the network said. "We want to resist the occupation with these missiles," he said. He added that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could not stop Hamas, since it has the support of most of the Palestinian people.
"If Arafat put an end to Hamas, who is he going to rule?" Abu Marzook said.
Arafat has declared an end to attacks on Israel, and local Hamas leaders said they would abide by the ruling but would continue strikes against Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza.
This week, after Israeli forces killed four Hamas activists in a raid on a bomb factory in the West Bank city of Nablus, a Hamas statement declared an "all-out war" against Israel, indicating that bomb attacks would be resumed.
Another Hamas activist was killed in an Israeli helicopter missile strike on Thursday in Gaza.
In the interview, Abu Marzook distanced Hamas from Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, saying that "Hamas has a very clear-cut objective, to fight against the (Israeli) occupation."