Ha­mas re­jects dis­ar­ma­ment pro­posal

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

GAZA CITY, Gaza City (AP) — With a dead­line loom­ing hours away, Ha­mas on Thurs­day re­jected Is­raeli de­mands it dis­arm and threat­ened to re­sume its rocket at­tacks if its de­mands for lift­ing a crip­pling block­ade on Gaza were not met.

The hard-line stance, voiced by a se­nior Ha­mas of­fi­cial at the group's first rally since a cease-fire in the Gaza war took ef­fect on Tues­day, sig­naled that in­di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions in Cairo over a per­ma­nent truce in Gaza were not mak­ing head­way. It was an omi­nous sign ahead of Fri­day's ex­pi­ra­tion of a tem­po­rary three-day truce that ended a month of fight­ing.

A text mes­sage from Ha­mas' mil­i­tary wing, the Izze­dine al-Qas­sam Bri­gades, warned there would be no ex­ten­sion of the cease-fire if there was no agree­ment to per­ma­nently lift the block­ade en­forced by Is­rael and Egypt since the mil­i­tant group over­ran Gaza in 2007.

Abu Obeida, the al-Qas­sam spokesman, ap­peared on the group's Al-Aqsa TV sta­tion and said Ha­mas was "ready to go to war again." He threat­ened to launch a long-term war of at­tri­tion that would crip­ple life in Is­rael's big cities and dis­rupt air traf­fic at Is­rael's in­ter­na­tional air­port in Tel Aviv.

He also ap­pealed to Ha­mas ne­go­tia­tors in Egypt not to ac­cept an ex­ten­sion of the cease-fire with­out an agree­ment on lift­ing the block­ade. "The re­sis­tance is ca­pa­ble of im­pos­ing its con­di­tions," he said.

A se­cu­rity of­fi­cial in Egypt said Egyp­tian ne­go­tia­tors were strug­gling to bring the two sides closer to­gether, with one of­fi­cial say­ing Ha­mas and other Gaza mil­i­tants were re­fus­ing to com­pro­mise.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu vowed a tough re­ac­tion if Ha­mas re­news hos­til­i­ties.

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