Mottaki to terror groups: Keep fighting

Urges Palestinians not to give up; Hamas denies it offered Israel truce.

iran mottaki 298 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
iran mottaki 298 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
According to a report in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al Hayat, Iran's foreign minister called on terror groups to continue their armed struggle against Israel, Israel Radio reported on Sunday morning. Manouchehr Mottaki met over the weekend with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders, Khaled Mashaal and Ramadan Shalah, in Damascus. He told the two that factions in the Gaza Strip must stop fighting with one another. Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied reports that the group offered a deal to Israel in which they would stop firing Kassam rockets into the country if the army stopped targeting Hamas officials. Hamas was not asking for protection of its leaders, but rather for the Palestinian people as a whole, said Abu Zuhri. In an interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, Musa Abu Marzuk, the No. 2 in Hamas's Syria-based leadership, said on Saturday that the group "may agree to a one-year cease-fire. Both parties have to abide by it." Abu Marzuk was one of several senior Hamas leaders who were in Cairo over the past week for talks with Egyptian officials on ways to end Palestinian infighting and to reach a truce with Israel. Also Sunday. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed to a proposition made by PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to assign Hamas spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, as the new PA interior minister, Israel Radio reported. According to Arab media reports, Abbas agreed to the nomination despite the fact that he had previously opposed to fill the position with a Hamas member. The move comes approximately a month after former PA interior minister, Hani Kawassmeh, resigned following accusations that other members of the unity government had robbed him of his powers and foiled his plan to impose law and order in the Gaza Strip. Kawassmeh's position has not been filled since his resignation. Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.