(AP) — Gaza’s Hamas rulers said Wednesday they would stay on the sidelines if war breaks out between Israel and Iran, easing a key Israeli concern and distancing the Islamic militants from their sponsors in Tehran.

The comments by Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum coincided with speculation that Israel might strike Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Such concerns were heightened by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tough rhetoric on Iran during his high-profile visit to Washington this week.

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