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Hamas Rejects Demands by Rival Palestinian Leaders to Resign

  • VOA News

The Palestinians' ruling Hamas movement has rejected demands by rival Palestinian leaders for Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and his government to resign.

The demand was made by the Palestine Liberation Organization, a group led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and dominated by his rival Fatah faction.

Hamas officials on Saturday accused Mr. Abbas of trying to overthrow the elected government.

Mr. Abbas had convened a P.L.O. meeting after declaring Friday that months of talks with Hamas on a national unity government had collapsed. He met today with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who said Hamas has missed a perfect chance to form a unity government.

Hamas and Fatah have been locked in a power struggle since Hamas won the Palestinian election in January.

Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognize Israel. The Islamic militant group is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States and Israel.

The election of Hamas prompted international sanctions that have crippled the Palestinian economy.

In other news, Palestinian security officials say an Israeli navy boat fired on a Palestinian fishing boat off the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military says it is not aware of the incident. Palestinians say it is the first Israeli violation of a week-old ceasefire in Gaza.

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