Imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti harshly criticized Hamas for what he called a "bloody coup" with its takeover of Gaza in remarks released Monday, urging the Islamic group to accept early elections to settle internal Palestinian differences.
Barghouti said in written answers to questions passed on to him by his lawyer that Hamas is the only exception to a national consensus on holding early elections. The answers were given to The Associated Press early Monday.
Barghouti, serving five consecutive life terms for murder in an Israeli prison, is a leading potential successor to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is seeking Barghouti's release in a prisoners exchange with Israel.
"The bloody coup" by Hamas has clearly "destroyed the bridges" between Hamas and Fatah, he wrote.