Moussa Abu Marzouk.

The No. 2 in Hamas has told The Associated Press that the Islamic militant group won't stop making weapons in Gaza or smuggling them to the territory.

Moussa Abu Marzouk's comments Saturday pointed to the major obstacles facing Egyptian-mediated talks between Israel and the Islamists on a new border deal for Hamas-ruled Gaza.

An Israeli security official has said Israel would likely link a significant easing of Gaza's border blockade to Hamas' willingness to stop arming itself. Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday.

Israel and Hamas have clashed repeatedly, most recently in an eight-day cross-border battle that began Nov. 14.

A cease-fire has held so far, and Abu Marzouk said in an interview that more indirect talks between Israel and Hamas are set for Monday. -Sapa-AP