Hamas official Khalil al-Haya
Hamas official Khalil al-Haya Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Deputy Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya said on Sunday that the group, which is the de facto ruler of Gaza, is not interested in an escalation with Israel.

Speaking to reporters and quoted by Reuters, al-Hayya said he did not believe that the energy crisis in Gaza would lead to increased tensions.

"We in Hamas do not initiate wars and we do not expect one, this is our political assessment," he said, adding, "We do not expect war because we are not interested and the occupation also say they are not interested.”

The comments come after the Israeli security cabinet decided last week to reduce the supply of electricity to Gaza at the request of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The PA has been pressing Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, which it seized in a bloody coup in 2007. As part of those measures, the PA has limited how much it pays for power to the area.

Gaza receives its power from the Israeli energy company Dor, but has not paid the company for several months. After a previous energy crisis a few months ago, Gaza received a supply of fuel from Turkey andQatar, but both supplies have since been spent.

The Ramallah-based PA blamed Hamas's failure to reimburse it for electricity for the reduction in power supplies.

Hamas and Abbas's Fatah movement have been at odds since the violent 2007 Hamas coup, and all attempts to reach a reconciliation agreement have failed.