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Hamas calls leaders back to Gaza

April 25, 2005 at 10:47 AM

GAZA, April 25 (UPI) -- A senior Islamic Hamas leader Monday urged leaders of the militant group living abroad to return to Gaza after Israel leaves the area.

Mahmoud al Zahar issued a statement calling on all Hamas leaders based abroad -- mainly in Syria -- to return to the Gaza Strip after Israel implements its disengagement plan.

Israel is expected to evacuate all Gaza Strip settlements and four others in northern West Bank and withdraw its troops by mid-August.

Al Zahar, however, added Hamas "would never give up armed resistance, or to hand over its militants' arms.

"The Palestinian Authority knows very well that such a thing would never happen," he said.

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