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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 16:55 GMT
Hamas to end truce with Israel
Khaled Meshaal
Meshaal leads Hamas from his Damascus headquarters
Palestinian militant group Hamas' political leader has said it will not renew its informal truce with Israel which expires at the end of the year.

Khaled Meshaal told a rally in the Syrian capital Damascus his group was preparing for a new round of conflict.

The truce begun in February was based on Israel ending its attacks on Palestinians and releasing prisoners.

Hamas had already said it would pull out of the truce when Israel killed a military leader in November.

Addressing the crowd at the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Mr Meshaal said there was no room for a truce.

"I say to our brothers in the [Palestinian] Authority that we are witnessing political stagnation," he said.

"I say it loudly, we will not enter a new truce and our people are preparing for a new round of conflict."

Mr Meshaal was named the organisation's most senior figure after the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in March 2004.

Correspondents say Hamas' politburo, which Mr Meshaal heads, is more hardline and ideological than the group's leadership in Gaza.


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