Mashaal says Gaza raid result of Bush's visit to region

The exiled leader of Hamas said Tuesday that Israel's Gaza raid which killed 18 Palestinians, including the son of a senior Hamas leader, was the fruit of US President George W. Bush's visit to the Middle East region. Khaled Mashaal, in an interview with The Associated Press in Damascus where he lives, accused Bush of inciting Israeli leaders. "This crime is the ugly fruit of Bush's visit to the region. He has incited the Zionists and has exerted pressure on the Palestinian side to become more hardline against Palestinian dialogue," he said during the interview in his office. Mashaal was referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose mainstream Fatah faction has been locked in a bitter power struggle with his Hamas group that now controls Gaza.