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Hamas: Israel threatened to cancel ceasefire over Mashaal visit

Dec. 8, 2012 2:06 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 10, 2012 9:46 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Israel threatened to cancel the ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt if Hamas’ chief in exile and his delegation visited the Gaza Strip for the movement's 25th anniversary, says senior Hamas leader Izzat al-Rishiq.

In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV Saturday, al-Rishiq said, “We received real threats that occupation could cancel the ceasefire agreement or do anything.”

Al-Rishiq highlighted that Mashaal decided to visit the Gaza Strip even at personal risk.

Describing the “historic” visit by Hamas’ leaders in exile to Gaza, he said, “This is a great view, and we are happy to set foot on the pure land of Gaza and met from the very beginning with our people.”

He added: “Our people should be more assured about resistance. Hamas is a resistance movement, and without resistance there will be no Hamas.”

On Thursday Islamic Jihad officials said Israel threatened to assassinate the leader of Islamic Jihad if he entered the Gaza Strip, causing the party to reconsider.

Egyptian authorities told Islamic Jihad that Israel rejected the visit and would target leader Ramadan Shalah and his deputy Ziad Nakhla if they went into Gaza, sources close to the discussions told Ma'an.

Islamic Jihad leaders were considering whether to cancel the visit Thursday.

Israel launched an 8-day assault on Gaza that ended Nov. 21 with a ceasefire agreement mediated by Egypt.
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