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Hamas leader says Israel lost Egypt's trust

Nov. 16, 2012 9:19 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 17, 2012 11:50 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel lost Egypt's trust by breaking a Cairo-mediated ceasefire, Hamas leader Ahmad Yousef said Friday.

Egypt mediated a truce between Hamas and Israel on Monday. Israel broke the ceasefire 48 hours later when it assassinated Hamas military commander Ahmad al-Jaabari in a strike on Gaza City.

Al-Jaabari had a close relationship with Cairo and was Egypt's point of contact to mediate truces and prisoner swaps.

Yousef told Ma'an the Egyptian leadership no longer trusted Israel because it reneged on the truce.

Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Kandil met with Hamas leaders during a visit to Gaza on Friday morning as Israel's military offensive entered its third day.

Yousef says Hamas will not agree to any truce with Israel despite pressure from Arab and European countries, and will not consider a ceasefire unless Israel lifts its land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"The rules of the game have changed now," he said. "Things are different."

He said Hamas' military had "surprises" for Israel which will be revealed over the next 24 hours.

Hamas' military wing the al-Qassam Brigades said it fired a long-range missile and two rockets at Jerusalem on Friday evening.

Israel's police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a rocket landed in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of the city. It was the first Palestinian projectile to land in the vicinity of Jerusalem since 1970.

Yousef said Israel was transmitting requests for a ceasefire via European countries in what he described as "psychological warfare."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Thursday that the movement was not interested in a ceasefire as Israel used truces to provide cover for more attacks.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak sought government approval on Friday to mobilize up to 75,000 reserve troops in a sign of preparations for a possible ground offensive.

Yousef told Ma'an that Hamas was prepared for a ground invasion.

"In case the Israeli authorities decide to invade the Gaza strip, they will be shocked, and will see surprises that they never have see."
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