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Hamas leader: ending Gaza blockade is goal



GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip says the aim of his group's current battle with Israel is to force an end to the blockade of the territory.

Ismail Haniyeh's comments indicate that Hamas will continue to reject an unconditional cease-fire proposed by Egypt last week.

Israel and Egypt imposed the closure in 2007, after Hamas took over Gaza from the Western-backed Palestinian authority.

Haniyeh said in a televised speech Monday that "we cannot go back, we cannot go back to the silent death" of the blockade.

He says "Gaza has decided to end the blockade by its blood and by its courage."

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