Hamas's exiled leader, Khaled Mash'al, who is based in Damascus, confirmed that his party can not claim responsibility for the late February deadly attack on a Jerusalem-based Jewish religous seminary.
Masha'al cited Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades, not declaring responsibility for the said attack, which claimed the lives of eight students. Neverthelees, Mash'al hailed the attack as a' legitimate act of resistance and a retaliation to Israel's actions against the Palestinian people. Speaking to Maan News Agency's chief editor, Naser Allaham, from his Damascus office, the Hamas leader, maintained that his party's top priority is ' liberating the Palestinian homeland rather than siezing power. "What happened in Gaza was not taking control, but rather participating in the Palestinian political spectrum", Mash'al responded to Hamas's takeover of Gaza in June 2007. Commenting on personal freedoms under his party's rule, the Hamas leader maintained " the Islamic relgion does not force people into embracing it, therefore, Muslims are not entitled to impose their own traditions on non-Muslism". Masha'al asserted his party's moderate message, saying that even Christians opted for Hamas during the January 2006 elections, for what Masha'al says 'Christians understanding of Hamas's tolerent and moderate approach'