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Hamas Says Extended Gaza Truce With Israel Unlikely


There has been a strong show of support for the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, where tens-of-thousands of supporters rallied Sunday. The demonstration comes amid growing tension with Israel.

Tens-of-thousands of Palestinians gathered in Gaza in support of the Islamic militant group Hamas, marking its 21st anniversary. There was a sea of green, as many wore caps and waved flags in the signature color of Hamas.

The rally shows that Hamas remains firmly in control of Gaza after seizing power a year and a half ago. Hamas routed the Fatah forces of internationally backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who now heads a more moderate government in the West Bank. Mr. Abbas is holding peace talks with Israel, but the Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, told the crowd that negotiations are a waste of time.

Mr. Haniyeh said armed resistance is the only way to liberate Palestine.

In Damascus, Hamas announced that the six-month-old Gaza truce with Israel would not be renewed when it expires on Friday. That raises the prospect of a new round of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks and Israeli retaliation.

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev says the cease-fire is preferable, but there is a military option.

Israel has other options, and if we have to use those other options, it's better to say that we first of all tried a more peaceful path before we had to use the other ones," said Regev.

While preparing for confrontation with Hamas in Gaza, Israel is taking steps to strengthen President Abbas in the West Bank. Israel plans to release 227 Palestinian prisoners on Monday.

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