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Hamas "will not close the door" to a humanitarian truce in Gaza, a political leader of the militant group said Wednesday, but only if Israel ends its siege there — and further negotiations must happen before a full ceasefire would be considered.

"We are very interested to have a humanitarian truce as we did last Thursday. We need the calm for a few hours to evacuate the wounded and assist in the relief... This means a real truce backed by a real relief program offered to the people of Gaza," Khaled Meshaal, Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, said at a news conference in Qatar. He made an international plea for medicine and fuel to be sent to Gaza, which has been pummeled by fighting for 15 days. A permanent ceasefire, he added, is not yet within reach. "Everyone wanted us to accept a ceasefire and then negotiate for our rights. We reject this and we reject it again today," he said, adding "there are still differences in opinion" in discussions for a lasting end to the fighting.



— Elizabeth Chuck