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Hamas Rejects Advice From Al-Qaida


The Palestinian militant group Hamas has dismissed a message of support from al-Qaida's number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Hamas leaders said Sunday the group will make decisions that are in the best interests of the Palestinian people. They said Hamas has a vision of Islam that differs from al-Qaida's.

Al-Zawahiri made his remarks in a video broadcast Saturday on the Arab television channel, al-Jazeera. He called on Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in January, to reject peace deals between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Meanwhile, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it was a mistake for Russia to hold talks with Hamas leaders. Mr. Olmert told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone conversation that the talks would encourage Hamas to maintain its platform, which calls for the destruction of Israel.

Mr. Putin invited Hamas leaders to Moscow following the group's election victory.

Also Sunday, Israeli officials said Mr. Olmert is planning another unilateral withdrawal from some West Bank settlements if his Kadima party wins elections late this month.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.
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