Palestinian factions discuss preventing war with Israel

January 12, 2011 21:30

Hamas, Islamic Jihad claim no conflict over cease-fire with Israel; maintain right to "launch resistance attacks" if Israel invades Gaza Strip.

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Mahmoud Zahar

mahmoud zahar 311. (photo credit: AP)

Representatives of various Palestinian factions met in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night to discuss ways of avoiding another war with Israel, sources close to Hamas said.

The meeting is being held at the request of Hamas, which has been exerting heavy pressure on all armed groups in the Gaza Strip to stop rocket and mortar attacks on Israel.

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The Hamas delegation at the talks is headed by Mahmoud Zahar and Khalil al-Hayeh, the sources said, adding that an agreement on a cease-fire was expected to be announced soon.

On the eve of the discussions, Hamas reiterated its commitment to preserving the state of calm with Israel.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said that most of the recent attacks on Israel were carried out by members of Islamic Jihad, an organization that had previously refused to abide by the unofficial truce with Israel.

Mahmoud Hindi, a senior Islamic Jihad official, announced that his organization has reached an agreement with other Palestinian groups to “calm the situation on the ground.”

He also ruled out the possibility that a confrontation would erupt between Islamic Jihad and Hamas over the cease-fire with Israel.

Hindi said that while Islamic Jihad has agreed to stop firing rockets and mortars at Israeli communities, it maintains the right to “launch resistance attacks” to foil any Israeli attempt to invade the Gaza Strip.

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