New Hamas leader says relations with Iran have been restored

The new Gaza leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas says it has restored relations with Iran and is gearing up for renewed hostilities with Israel.

Yehiyeh Sinwar told reporters Monday that Iran is now "the largest backer financially and militarily" to Hamas' armed wing. It was his first meeting with journalists since taking up his post in February.

Iran was once Hamas' largest backer. But relations cooled after Hamas refused to back Iran's close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, in his country's civil war.

Sinwar says that with Iran's help, Hamas is "accumulating" its military powers in preparation for a battle meant for "the liberation of Palestine."

Hamas, a militant group that seeks Israel's destruction, has fought three wars with Israel since seizing control of Gaza in 2007.