Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar told Sky News in an interview that Israel does not have a right to exist since it is located on “occupied territory”.

In a wide-ranging interview which aired on Sunday, the first he has given to any broadcaster since the ceasefire in Gaza was announced, Zahar also flat out denied that Hamas had fired rockets from civilian areas, despite evidence to the contrary provided by Israel.

"No. No single rockets were sent from a civilian area. Most of the rockets were from the border... no single civilian area. You give me an example of how we are going to bring rockets and to put them on the roof (of buildings)?" he said.

"The area everybody knows was the most of important area for self-defense was on the border," claimed Zahar.

Asked why Hamas is intentionally hitting civilian areas of Israel, he said they were targeting "the occupation, not civilians".

"This is not against Israeli communities, (it's) against Israeli occupation. This is against Israeli aggression," he insisted.

Asked if the State of Israel has the right to exist, he replied, "No. Why? You are coming from America and you take my house, you came from Britain and you took my brother's house, you took this. This is a settlement."

"You are not a citizen. We are the owner of this area - Arabic area. This is well known as an Islamic area," claimed Zahar.

Asked why Hamas spends its money on missiles and rockets rather than on its people, he replied, "Give me one example in the world where they have no military ministry to defend themselves?"

"We are here protecting ourselves against aggression, against the Israeli aggression. So if it is forbidden, this is a hypocrisy," added Zahar.

Zahar also said the recently announced ceasefire in Gaza should hold but warned there was no chance of making peace with Israel for the moment.

"Ceasefire up to this moment is acceptable from our side and from the other side. For how long? I think nobody on both sides is looking for escalation more than what had been before. So I believe that it will continue," he said.