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Hamas suspends talks with Palestinian Authority

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Sunday, June 8, 2003

GAZA CITY Hamas has suspended talks with the Palestinian Authority regarding its efforts for a ceasefire in the war against Israel.

The talks were suspended as Palestinian insurgents launched a new wave of attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas said it had stopped negotiations with PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas because of a disagreement regarding the Aqaba summit last week. The group said it failed to obtain a commitment from Abbas to withdraw from his pledge to end the Israeli-Palestinian war and negotiate with Israel.

"This matter is final unless Mahmoud Abbas retracts his Aqaba speech," Hamas spokesman Abdul Aziz Rentisi said on Saturday.

The PA has denied that Hamas broke off talks with Abbas, PA Culture Minister Ziad Abu Amr said Abbas will meet with all of the factions by Monday.

"Both the government and Hamas have no choice but to continue with the dialogue because we have both committed ourselves to avoiding internal conflict," Amr said.

Officials said Egypt has intervened in the deadlock between the PA and Hamas.

On Sunday, Israel renewed its closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip amid what officials said was an unprecedented number of alerts of Palestinian plans to attack Israeli civilian and military targets. Officials said the alerts warn of suicide strikes in Israel, mostly from the Gaza Strip.

Overnight Sunday, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian insurgent in the Gaza Strip. Israeli military sources said the insurgent, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, approached an Israeli post near the Kissufim terminal.

Hours later, three Palestinian insurgents wearing military uniforms opened fire toward Israeli soldiers and Palestinian laborers at the Erez

terminal in the northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said at least eight Israelis were injured when the insurgents fired within the Erez industrial zone. The insurgents were said to have been killed by the Israeli force.

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