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Hamas leader says no negotiations with Israel over long-term ceasefire

Mahmoud Zahar called reports that Hamas was close to achieving a truce with Israel as 'lies that have no basis in reality'
A member of the armed wing of the Hamas movement, kisses a boy during a military parade in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip on 21 August 2015 (AA)

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar denied on Tuesday that his party were involved in negotiations for a long term truce with Israel, saying that the lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip must precede any such kind of talks.

In an interview with Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV, Zahar also advocated for a “resistance program” to overtake the West Bank, adding that the success of Hamas in its confrontation against Israel has bolstered its international standing, and that this success should be emulated in the West Bank.

In an exclusive interview with Qatari website al-Araby al-Jadeed, Hamas’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal confirmed that there were ongoing indirect talks between Israel and Hamas for a long term ceasefire based on five key issues: ending the siege, reconstruction of the strip, building an airport and seaport, the opening of the borders, and funding for public sector workers.

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair invited Hamas officials to London to discuss the long term truce, but Zahar refused his request, telling Al Aqsa that talks of Hamas nearing a ceasefire with Israel were “lies that have no basis in reality.”

Meshaal ruled out that Hamas’s armed wing will stop its activity against Israel, but added that the movement did not want another battle.

“There is a legitimate resistance that will continue working against the occupation as long as there is occupation and settlements- but we don’t want wars,” he said.

Israel has denied that it is involved in any negotiations with Hamas. 

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