Hamas leader regrets Gaza fighting

June 14, 2008 at 2:40 PM

GAZA, June 14 (UPI) -- A senior Hamas official says he regrets the violence between his group and the rival Fatah faction, saying the bloodshed has set back the Palestinian cause.

Ahmad Youssef, an adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, told the BBC that, a year after Hamas took control of Gaza, the fighting there has only made the polarization among Palestinian Arabs stronger.

"(Most) people are actually taking sides, and the polarization became stronger than before," he told the BBC. "I wish that we never kill(ed) each other, we never had (such) bloodshed among the Palestinians."

The network said Youssef noted the factional fighting has helped rip the social fabric of the Palestinians.

"I wish if we reached a national reconciliation, we'll be able to recover from all these sufferings because of the takeover," he said, adding that conditions in Gaza are deteriorating due to Israeli sanctions aimed at isolating Hamas.

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