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Palestinian President Denounces Hamas, Rejects Dialogue


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will not hold any dialogue with Hamas, denouncing the militant group as "terrorists" who plotted to assassinate him.

In an address to the Palestinian people Wednesday, Mr. Abbas condemned as a "coup" Hamas' seizure of the Gaza Strip last week in fighting with his Fatah party forces. Fatah remains in control of the West Bank.

Earlier Wednesday, the Israeli military killed four Palestinians in a clash in Gaza and carried out its first airstrike in the territory since Hamas took control last week.

Israel's military said it carried out air strikes against two rocket launchers in Gaza. No one was killed.

On the humanitarian front, Israeli officials say they will allow Gaza Strip Palestinians trapped at the Erez border crossing who need urgent medical treatment to enter Israel. Israel also has agreed to allow foreign nationals, including Russian and Ukrainian citizens, to leave Gaza through the crossing.

The U.N. World Food Program sent nine more truckloads of aid into Gaza Wednesday.

In other developments, Israel opened contacts today with the new Palestinian prime minister. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Salam Fayyad that the formation of the new Palestinian government that does not include Hamas will allow for progress on various issues.

Israel refused contact with the Palestinian government headed by Hamas, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization. President Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led government after the militant group took control of Gaza.

In Washington Tuesday, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to bolster Mr. Abbas in his struggle with Hamas.

The Israeli military also said soldiers killed two Palestinian militants during a raid in the West Bank Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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