Hamas denies secret meeting with Israeli officials

14:47, August 08, 2010      

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Gaza-ruling Hamas movement denied on Saturday reports that a number of its leaders had secretly met with Israeli leaders.

"These reports are misleading and fabricated," Omar Abdul Razeq, a West Bank-based Hamas official, told Xinhua. "Hamas leadership will never meet with any Israeli officials."

He affirmed that the reports are meant to cause harm to the Islamic movement and reduce its growing popularity in the Fatah- ruled West Bank.

The London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Saturday that a clandestine meeting was held between Abdul Razek and Israeli officials in the Israeli city of Netanya last Tuesday.

The pan-Arab daily linked the Israeli-Hamas meeting with the recent calls of Hamas leaders in Syria to kidnap Israeli settlers in the West Bank to exchange with Palestinian prisoners. The meeting was meant to send a message to Hamas of the consequences if the latter tried to capture Israeli settlers.

"This is untrue simply because Hamas is banned by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from performing resistance," Abdul Razek commented.

Hamas, one of Israel's enemies, grabbed hold of the Gaza Strip forcibly in 2007 and has been engaged in bitter power-struggle with the West Bank rulers of Fatah party.

Source: Xinhua


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