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Officials of Hamas on Sunday shrugged off the support offered the day before by al-Qaida's No. 2 leader in a video broadcast, saying their group has a different ideology than the terror network and won parliamentary elections through its moderate approach to Islam.
In a video aired Saturday by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri called for jihad, or holy war, to reclaim Palestinian lands and implied al-Qaida's support for Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel despite international pressure since the militant Islamic group swept parliamentary elections in January.
A Hamas official in Gaza, speaking on condition of anonymity because the movement did not wish to formally respond to al-Zawahri's support, said: "Hamas believes that Islam is completely different to the ideology of Mr. al-Zawahri."
"Our battle is against the Israeli occupation and our only concern is to restore our rights and serve our people. We have no links with any group or element outside Palestine," the official said.