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Hamas denies contacts to renew ceasefire with Israel and Egypt
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09:17, December 22, 2008

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The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Sunday denied reports about contacts with Israel and Egypt to renew ceasefire in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

In the meantime, Hamas leaders took preventive security measures as Israel threatened to resume assassinating leaders of Palestinian armed groups.

"The news that Egypt put pressure on Hamas were only trial balloons to explore to what extent Hamas was interested in renewing the lull," Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said, adding that "the lull has expired and we will not renew it."

The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took effect between June and December. It aimed at easing a tight blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza to isolate Hamas in exchange for halting Palestinian rocket fire from the territory.

But in recent weeks, the ceasefire was rocked after Israel resumed military operations into Gaza and the Palestinians responded by renewing rocket attacks into Israel.

"The (Israeli) occupation is responsible for toppling the lull because it did not respect its terms," Radwan added.

Meanwhile, Fawzi Barhoum, another Hamas spokesman, said the Islamic movement's leaders "took preventive procedures to face the Israeli escalation."

"We don't want the leaders to be an easy catch in the hand of the occupation," Barhoum added. "We are facing an enemy and a wide offensive and this requires taking all the procedures to remain in the field of resistance."


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