"This army will continue to defend our homeland as long as one inch of Palestine remains occupied," Mahmoud al-Zahar told reporters on Friday, after attending a training session of Hamas's military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

"It is criminal to claim that there is only one weapon," al-Zahar said in reference to declarations by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas insisting that the Palestinian Authority was the only legitimate security tool.

During a keynote speech to the Palestinian parliament earlier this week, Abbas urged all armed groups to end their rocket attacks on Israeli targets, as part of a larger appeal for calm during the pullout.

Abbas met al-Zahar and Hamas's two other top Gaza leaders on Tuesday in a bid to ensure the group's fighters would not seek to scupper the historic pullout of Israeli troops and settlers.

Hamas, the group behind the majority of anti-Israeli attacks during the five-year uprising or intifada, says the rocket attacks were instrumental in persuading Israel to leave Gaza after a 38-year occupation.