Hamas No. 2 rejects Gaza arms halt
CAIRO – Gaza’s ruling Hamas will not stop arming itself because only a strong arsenal, not negotiations, can extract concessions from Israel, the No. 2 in the Islamic militant group told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.
The comments by Moussa Abu Marzouk, just three days after the worst bout of Israel-Hamas fighting in four years, signaled trouble ahead for Egyptian-brokered talks between the hostile neighbors on a new border deal.
Hamas demands Israel and Egypt lift all restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of the Palestinian territory, which has been buckling under a border blockade since the Islamists seized the territory in 2007. The restrictions have been eased somewhat in recent years, but not enough to allow Gaza’s battered economy to develop.
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