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Hamas will not renew its truce with Israel when it expires at the end of the year, the political leader of the Palestinian terrorist group, Khaled Mashaal, told a rally Friday.
His comment, a reiteration of a statement last month, posed the threat of renewed suicide bombings in Israel. Hamas carried out dozens of such attacks, killing hundreds of people, before the informal truce came into effect earlier this year.
Speaking to more than 1,000 supporters in a Palestinian camp outside the Syrian capital, Mashaal said: "There are calls here and there for the renewal of the truce next year. I say such calls are unrealistic.
"There is no room for the renewal of the truce in the face of the (Israeli) enemy's policy of increased assassinations and arrests."
Next year, he continued, "we will only choose the road of resistance, especially since we are waiting for the last moments of the truce, which has fatigued us."
Marshaal accused Israel of failing to keep its side of the informal truce, which was negotiated with Egyptian mediation. The Egyptian government has invited all Palestinian groups to Cairo for talks on extending the cease-fire for another year.
"I say enough to the truce," Mashaal said Friday. "We won't regret it because it was required at that time. But after our enemy failed to honor it, and after (Palestinian) prisoners remained in enemy prisons and were not released, and their number even increased to 9,000, there is no room for a new truce."
Later Friday, Mashaal denied reports that he had declared an immediate end to the truce with Israel.
"There seemed to be some confusion in news agencies' reports," Mashaal told the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera by phone. "What I said exactly was related to the subject of renewing the truce for next year. With regard to the current truce, there is no change in Hamas' known position."
The United States and Israel, which both consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization, have demanded that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas disarm the group.
But Abbas has said that an attempt to disarm Hamas would provoke civil war. Instead he is working to bring the Islamic terrorist group into the political arena by getting them to take part in January's parliamentary elections.