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Hamas accuses Abbas of playing role in Gaza closure
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09:21, February 25, 2008

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Islamic Hamas movement on Sunday accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of having a role in Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip, urging him to stop "extorting the people."

Fawzi Barhoom, a spokesman for Hamas, referred to his movement's efforts to reopen Rafah crossing point that connects the Hamas-ruled Gaza and Egypt, adding that Abbas met with the Egyptian President and told him that Rafah will not be opened away from a previous international deal.

"This was a direct and clear response by Abu Mazen (Abbas) that he will not allow the reopening of the crossing as a pure Egyptian-Palestinian one" as Hamas demands, Barhoom added.

Before last June, the month when Hamas ousted pro-Abbas forces and took over the strip by force, Rafah crossing was running under a U.S.-brokered protocol stipulated that European Union monitors and Abbas' presidential guards assumed security at the terminal.

Hamas wants to get rid of the international deal and make the crossing Palestinian-Egyptian passageway without any third party. "The ball now is at Abbas' court; he has to stop extorting GazaStrip and starving its people for the sake of Israel," Barhoom said.

Source: Xinhua

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