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Hamas: Airstrikes response to Arab League decision

July 31, 2010 1:21 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2010 2:44 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – The renewal of Israeli air strikes on Gaza were a response to the Arab League’s decision to resume direct peace talks, a Hamas official said Saturday.

Ismail Radwan said negotiations can only lead to further "judaization" of Jerusalem, and Israeli crimes against Palestinian people, citing Saturday's air strikes on Gaza as an example.

An Al-Qassam Brigades fighter was killed and ten Gaza residents were injured on Saturday morning in Israeli air strikes across the Strip.

Radwan said the meeting of the Arab Peace Initiative follow-up in Cairo on Thursday, which approved direct talks with Israel subject to conditions, over-extended the Arab League’s authority, explaining that the decision to resume negotiations must be taken by Palestinians.

President Mahmoud Abbas has been under pressure from the US and Israel to resume face-to-face talks with Israel, which were broken off in 2008 when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against Gaza.

The meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cario approved direct talks, but supported Abbas’ demand for pre-conditions.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported Friday that the recent projectile launch into Ashkelon was a bid to prevent talks between Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials.

"Though it is still unclear who was responsible for the Grad fire, it is clear that Hamas has no interest right now in escalating tension. Hamas wants to maintain the status quo in Gaza as it is. It is not frozen, and continues to arm itself, but is still deterred by the IDF and doesn't want conflict," one senior official told Israeli news site Ynet.

The Israeli army said the airstrikes on Gaza Saturday morning were in response to the projectile launch a day before.

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