Abbas says Hamas caused prolonged war

Ramallah - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Hamas of needlessly extending fighting in the Gaza Strip, causing a high death toll.

Abbas told Palestine TV in remarks broadcast on Friday that "it was possible for us to avoid all of that, 2 000 martyrs, 10 000 injured, 50 00 houses [damaged or destroyed]."

Israel and Hamas militants fought for 50 days before reaching a truce on Tuesday.

More than 2 100 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of civilians. Seventy one people on the Israeli side, including six civilians, were killed.

Several Egyptian mediated cease-fire attempts failed. Hamas eventually accepted almost the same truce offered at the beginning.

Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority runs the West Bank, formed a unity government backed by Hamas earlier this year. Abbas questioned the future of that arrangement in the interview.