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Hamas awaits Egypt-Israel talks outcome over Gaza ceasefire
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19:31, April 22, 2009

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A senior Hamas leader said on Wednesday his movement is still awaiting outcomes of Egypt's talks with Israel before making any decision on a ceasefire with Israelis.

Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas' strongman in Gaza, said his movement is waiting for the results of Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman's visit to Israel due on Wednesday.

"We have complete visions to respond to anything put forward" after the visit, Zahar said.

An Egyptian-brokered six-month ceasefire ended in December and a few days later Israel launched a 22-day offensive on Gaza, killing more than 1,300 Palestinians and destroying thousands of houses and buildings.

Since then, Hamas was busy in fixing its domestic affairs, especially reconciliation with President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, while Israel was busy in elections rather than renewing the ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Israel thwarted previous Egyptian efforts to restore the ceasefire by insisting on linking this issue to the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who has been held hostage by Hamas-led militants since 2006.

Hamas said Shalit's case should not be associated with the ceasefire because the two issues have different dues.

Source: Xinhua

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