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Hamas chief reaffirms commitment to ceasefire demands


When Palestinian militants of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, held a military parade in Gaza City after reaching a ceasefire with Israel in 2021. [Xinhua]

Head of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh affirmed on Wednesday the movement's commitment to its demands for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Haniyeh said in a speech, ahead of the International Quds Day, that the demands include the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their homes, the entry of aid, the lifting of the blockade, reconstruction, and a dignified prisoner exchange deal.

In the speech, he accused the Israeli side of sticking to "indirect negotiations and not responding to the fair Palestinian demands to stop its aggression on Gaza."

He called on Arab and Islamic countries to form a popular front to put an end to Israeli aggression, and support the liberation battle waged by the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, he emphasized that "the continued violence would not have endured without U.S. support and direct involvement in aiding Israel's actions, including supplying weapons and billions in assistance."

The International Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of Ramadan every year, is to express support for Palestinians and oppose Israel's occupation of Jerusalem.

This year's occasion comes amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict since last October, resulting in the deaths of nearly 33,000 Palestinians, widespread destruction, and a humanitarian crisis.

The conflict came after Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israeli towns, killing around 1,200 people.

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