North Korea Denies Supplying Missiles to Hamas and Hezbollah
An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires towards the Gaza StripReuters

North Korea has denied it is in the process of discussing an arms deal with the Palestinian group Hamas to help them in the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

Dubbing the allegations as "fiction", Pyongyang said reports to this effect were being floated by the US in order to "isolate" North Korea.

A spokesperson for North Korea's foreign ministry said: "This is utterly baseless sophism and sheer fiction let loose by the US to isolate the DPRK [North Korea's official name] internationally.

"The US is working hard to deliberately link the DPRK to the so-called 'terrorist organisations' defined by it in a bid to divert the focus of international criticism to Pyongyang. The US is pulling up others under the pretexts of 'terrorism', 'killing of civilians' and the like, a gangster-like logic reminiscent of a thief crying 'stop the thief'".

Earlier, a Western diplomat was cited by the Telegraph suggesting that Hamas was negotiating a deal with North Korea as the group's resources were drying up in the war against Israel.

The reported arms deal between Hamas and North Korea was thought to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lebanon-based groups were said to be brokering the deal.

Prolonged War

In the meantime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted that the raging conflict will not die down anytime soon.

"We will not finish the mission, we will not finish the operation without neutralising the tunnels [created by Hamas beneath the Gaza-Israel border], which have the sole purpose of destroying our citizens, killing our children," the Israeli premier said in a televised address.

"We need to be prepared for a protracted campaign. We will continue to act with force and discretion until our mission is accomplished."

The 22-day conflict has so far claimed the lives of 1,090 Gazans, most of them civilians, and 53 Israeli soldiers.