Sep 18, 11:38 AM EDT

AP Interview: Hamas No. 2 says war a lesser option

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Hamas' No. 2 leader says the Islamic militant group does not want another war with Israel but suggests more fighting is inevitable unless Israel ends its blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Moussa Abu Marzouk said in an interview Thursday that Hamas emerged stronger from the recent 50-day war, despite military setbacks.

A new poll indicated growing popular support for Hamas at the expense of its rival, Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007.

Israel, Hamas and Abbas are expected to negotiate a new border deal for Gaza, but it's not clear when talks will begin.

Abu Marzouk says failure to reach a deal will lead to another war. He says that "we don't want that and the Israelis, I guess, don't like to see that again."

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