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Palestinian negotiator says peace talks with Israel
30/12/2008 12:36

Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia said yesterday the peace negotiations with Israel "are suspended" in protest against the intensive Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

"It is impossible to hold peace negotiations with Israel, while its army is committing massacres against our people in the Gaza Strip," Qureia told reporters in the West bank city of Ramallah.

The "talks with Israel which are sponsored and supported by the United States are now suspended due to the awful bloody scene that the Gaza Strip is witnessing these days," he said.

Hamas, which has been ruling the Gaza Strip since mid June last year after it routed President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah security forces, has slammed the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for not stopping the talks with Israel.

"There are no peace negotiations and there will be no negotiations at this time while Israel is attacking the Palestinian people," said Qureia, who is also a senior Fatah movement leader.

Yesterday, five Palestinians were killed, including a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement's armed wing, in the latest Israeli air strike on southeast Gaza Strip, medics and witnesses said.

The witnesses said an Israeli air-to-ground rocket struck a car in the village of Abbasan, east of the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, killing at least five people, two of them militants.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad said in a statement sent to reporters that Ziad Abu Tir, a senior militant leader of the group's armed wing, Saraya al-Quds, was killed in an Israeli air strike on his car in the village.

Mo'aweya Hassanein, chief of emergency and ambulance services in the Palestinian Health ministry, said 320 Palestinians were killed and over than 1,400 wounded since Saturday morning in the Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Israel on Saturday launched an unprecedented and intensive operation on the Gaza Strip, saying the operation targets Hamas movement and all its political and military arms.

Since Saturday morning, Israel carried out over 300 air strikes on security buildings, mosques, metal workshops, underground tunnels near Gaza-Egypt borders and houses.