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Hamas: no new Egyptian bid to broker ceasefire with Israel
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10:42, May 03, 2009

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The Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement on Saturday denied the resumption of Egypt's efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and the militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

"There is nothing new regarding the lull," said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas which controls Gaza. "Any lull should have its obligations met," he added.

He said Israel must lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, open all crossing points in and out of the enclave and stop all kinds of attacks as preconditions for a new ceasefire.

Hamas made the remarks following a report that Egypt asked the Palestinian factions to study the possibility of reaching a new ceasefire with Israel.

Barhoum accused Israel of "destroying that lull," referring to a six-month truce brokered by Egypt in June last year between the Palestinian militant groups and Israel.

On Dec. 27, 2008, nearly 10 days after the end of the ceasefire, Israel launched a massive offensive against Gaza, killing more than 1,300 Palestinians and destroying thousands of installations in 22-day operation.

Since then, Egypt has been trying to renew the ceasefire but the Palestinians rejected Israel's demands to link the lull to the fate of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Hamas since 2006.

Hamas wants Shalit to be freed in a prisoner swap for Palestinian prisoners.


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