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Hamas denies holding secret talks on long term truce with Israel

The Islamic Hamas movement denied on Tuesday some media reports alleging that it is holding secret talks with Israel on reaching a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which has been ruling the coastal Palestinian enclave since 2007, said in a press statement that “the movement denies what is being circulated in some media outlets about a long-term truce with the Israeli occupation”.

It said that the reports are “an extension of the incitement and distortion campaigns against the movement, against its positions and against its resistance programme”.

Israel has been imposing a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip right after Hamas violently seized control of the territory in 2007.

Meanwhile, Israel waged three large-scale military offensives on the Gaza Strip, the longest was during the summer of 2014, which lasted for 50 days and left large-scale destruction.

Last year, Egypt, the United Nations and Qatar mediated understandings between the two sides in a bid to bring a relaxation of the blockade and prevent a long confrontation between Gaza militants and Israel.

Israeli newspapers earlier reported that there is “an Israeli grand plan” which is being prepared for the establishment of industrial zones along the fence separating Gaza and Israel.

Israeli writer Matan Tzuri earlier published an article in the Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s largest newspapers, claiming that “talks between Israel and Hamas are taking place these days at a rapid pace and in a relatively optimistic tone in semi-secret channels.

“The Israeli daily published another article saying that it has details of the “full Israeli plan,” which includes working on a number of projects along the Gaza Strip’s borders, and the projects will be established on Israeli territory.

The Gaza Strip has witnessed relative calm recently, after a wave of violent clashes last month between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel. Akram Atallah, a Gaza-based political analyst, told Xinhua that “despite the official denials on starting long-term truce talks in Gaza,” the Israeli plan of separating Gaza from the West Bank is gradually moving forward.

Abdul Majid Sweilem, a Ramallah-based political analyst, told Xinhua that he rules out that a long-term deal can be reached in the Gaza Strip “because there are still obstacles facing this deal”. -Xinhua

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