Hamas Says Committed To Mutual Truce With Israel


Hamas remains committed to its truce with Israel, a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement, Mahmud Zahar, said on Friday, despite the increase in rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

""We declare our commitment to respecting the truce between us and the occupier,"" Zahar told a gathering in the Gaza town of Khan Yunis.

""Despite the sacrifices, we announce that we continue to respect the truce,"" said Zahar, who is considered the most influential Hamas leader in Gaza.

And he called on Israel to reciprocate and ""stop incursions (into Gaza), halt killings of Palestinians and lift the blockade"" imposed on the coastal enclave.

Hamas which controls Gaza says it has observed a de facto truce with Israel since the January 2009 end of a 22-day Israeli offensive on the strip aimed at halting rocket fire by Palestinian militants.

Attacks have since been considerably reduced but more than 200 rockets and shells, most of them homemade, have been fired into Israel since early 2010, according to the Israeli military.