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Friday, February 6, 2009

'No truce while Gaza under siege'

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 18:41:50 GMT | PressTV

Mashaal delivering
the victory speech
in Damascus
Hamas says Israel has not yet taken the necessary actions for a lasting truce, slamming Tel Aviv for its continued blockade on the Gaza Strip.

"The enemy gave opaque and incomplete answers through Egypt that do not amount to a lifting of the blockade," the Palestinian movement's political leader Khalid Mashaal said on Friday.

The Hamas-run Gaza Strip has been under crippling movement restrictions imposed by Israel since the resistance fighters seized control of the coastal sliver in 2007, after the US-backed Fatah party dismantled the democratically-elected Hamas government and formed its own cabinet in the West Bank.

Mashaal reiterated the resistance's demand that Israel lift the blockade and reopen border-crossings with the Palestinian territory before any peace deal could be discussed.

"They have given no guarantee and we will not agree to any truce except in exchange for a lifting of the blockade and a reopening of the crossings," Mashaal told a rally in the Syrian capital to celebrate Hamas's victory in the 23-day war in Gaza.

On September 27, Israeli fighter jets struck Hamas positions in Gaza, which marked the beginning of a huge offensive on the territory that left more than 1,330 Palestinians - including some 5,450 children - killed.

The Israeli army, however, failed to achieve its goals in the region and announced a unilateral ceasefire on January 18.

Egypt has since been mediating indirect talks between the two sides to consolidate the ceasefires into a lasting truce.

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