Hamas Leaders Offer to Revive Truce with Israel Some leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas have offered to reinstate a cease-fire with Israel. Hamas, the ruling party in a fractured Palestinian government, abandoned a 16-month truce after a June 9 explosion killed eight civilians on a Gaza beach.

Hamas Leaders Offer to Revive Truce with Israel

Hamas Leaders Offer to Revive Truce with Israel

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Some leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas have offered to reinstate a cease-fire with Israel. Hamas, the ruling party in a fractured Palestinian government, abandoned a 16-month truce after a June 9 explosion killed eight civilians on a Gaza beach.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And I'm Madeleine Brand. The Palestinian militant group Hamas today tentatively offered to reinstate a cease fire with Israel. But Hamas officials say their commitment to a truce depends on a halt to Israeli attacks in Gaza. NPR's Linda Gradstein reports.

LINDA GRADSTEIN reporting:

Speaking in Hebrew on Israel radio, Hamas spokesman Razi Hamad said the Hamas government wants a ceasefire and is prepared to urge other Palestinian militant factions in Gaza to halt rocket attacks on Israel.

Mr. RAZI HAMAD (Spokesman, Hamas): (Through Translator) I spoke today to Prime Minister and he said we definitely want quiet. We are interested in a ceasefire everywhere.

GRADSTEIN: Hamas and other key Palestinian factions agreed to halt attacks on Israel 16 months ago. But Hamas announced it was abandoning the truce last week after an explosion on a Gaza beach that killed eight Palestinian civilians. Palestinian officials blamed Israel for the deaths. After investigating the incident, Israeli officials said their forces were not involved, but an expert from the group, Human Rights Watch, said it appeared the deaths were the result of Israeli artillery fire. In the wake of the beach killings, Hamas militants fired dozens of rockets into Southern Israel prompting a warning from Israel's intelligence chief, who said Israeli forces would begin targeting Hamas leaders unless the rocket fire stopped. The Hamas spokesman said renewal of the ceasefire is contingent on a halt to Israeli air and artillery attacks in Gaza. That brought this response from Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mark Regev.

Mr. MARK REGEV (Spokesman, Israeli Foreign Ministry): Our operations in Gaza are purely defensive. They are responsive to the continuous volleys of missiles that are fired from Gaza into Israeli communities, Israeli cities, Israeli farms in the Western Negev area. If they cease their attacks, there's no reason for Israel to act.

GRADSTEIN: Israeli officials say rocket attacks by Hamas have largely subsided already, but militants from the hard-line Islamic Jihad faction are not holding back. Today they fired five rockets at Southern Israel. One crashed into an industrial zone in the town of Sderot. One Israeli was slightly wounded.

In another development today, Israel transferred 950 U.S.-made rifles to the Palestinian Authority to help security forces assigned to protect Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Tensions between Abbas' Fatah movement and Hamas have spilled over into violence repeatedly over the past month, leaving more than 20 Palestinians dead. The clashes have sparked fears of a Palestinian civil war. Linda Gradstein, NPR News Jerusalem.

CHADWICK: And here's another development about the Palestinian government. The Palestinian Information Minister arrived in Gaza today carrying his suitcase with $2 million inside. On Wednesday, another Hamas official, the Foreign Minister, brought home $20 million in his luggage after visiting Muslim nations.

GRAND: In both cases, the cash was turned over to the Palestinian Finance Ministry. Hamas says these are private donations and are crucial to funding their government. The Palestinian leadership has faced a financial crisis since the U.S. and other nations cut off aid to the Hamas-led government, calling the organization a terrorist group.

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