Hamas rejects Gaza truce unless blockade lifted

Chief of the Islamist Hamas movement, Khaled Meshaal holds a press conference in the Qatari capital Doha on July 23, 2014Hamas Wednesday rejected a ceasefire to end 16 days of deadly fighting with Israel unless the blockade on the Gaza Strip is lifted, its chief Khaled Meshaal said in Doha. “We reject today… and will reject in the future” a ceasefire before negotiations on Hamas’s demands, which include lifting years of blockade against the Palestinian enclave, Meshaal told reporters. Lifting the eight-year blockade is a main demand of Hamas which also wants the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and Israel to free prisoners. As international calls for an end to the fighting in Gaza mount, Meshaal insisted that the Islamist Hamas “welcomes all efforts to end the aggression” and “does not object” to mediation by any party, including Egypt.

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