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UPDATED: 09:31, March 12, 2007
Al-Qaida's Zawahiri lashes out at Hamas over "surrendering to Israel"
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Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two of al-Qaida, on Sunday lashed out at Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) over surrendering to Israel by signing a Riyadh-brokered deal with the Washington-backed Fatah movement, reported the Qatar-based satellite al-Jazeera TV channel.

In a audio statement, parts of which were aired by al-Jazeera, Zawahiri said "the direction taken by Hamas has handed over to the Jews the greater part of Palestine."

Hamas and rival Fatah agreed at a meeting in the Saudi holy city of Mecca a month ago to forge a national unity government, a move that largely ended weeks of bloody factional fighting in the Palestinian territories.

"Hamas has fallen in the swamp of surrender," Zawahiri said in the audio statement, adding "they sold all that so they are allowed to keep a third of the government."

He described the Mecca deal as part of an attempt by the "U.S. Satan and his Saudi agent" to forge a fake solution to the Arab- Israeli conflict, saying the Hamas leadership "has committed an aggression against the rights of the Islamic nation."

Meanwhile, the al-Qaida's number two also hit out at the international community for failing to take a stronger stand against Israel, saying that "the Zionist entity is profaning the Al-Aqsa mosque compound (in East Jerusalem) while all the self- proclaimed Arab and Islamic governments can do is shout and condemn."

Arab and Muslim countries' recognition of Israel or their desire to make peace with the Jewish state has helped "Zionist and crusader" violations against Muslims, he added.

Zawahri's remarks was broadcast just minutes before Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ended their summit meeting on Sunday evening in Jerusalem, the second of its kind in less than a month.

Local media said the summit meeting made little progress on key issues, but the two sides agreed to have further discussions in the future.

Source: Xinhua

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