Hamas head reiterates commitment to calls for ceasefire in Gaza


(MENAFN) Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, reaffirmed the movement's commitment to its calls for a ceasefire in Gaza on Wednesday.

In a speech given in advance of International Quds Day, Haniyeh listed the demands as follows: the Israeli army must leave the Gaza Strip; the displaced must return to their homes; aid must be allowed in; the blockade must be lifted; reconstruction must begin; and there must be a fair exchange of prisoners.

He condemned the Israeli side in the address for continuing with "indirect negotiations and not responding to the fair Palestinian demands to stop its aggression on Gaza."

He urged the Islamic and Arab nations to unite behind a common cause in order to stop Israeli aggression and aid the Palestinian people in their liberation struggle.

In the meantime, he pointed out 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."

Every year on the last Friday of Ramadan, people celebrate International Quds Day, a day to show sympathy for Palestinians and opposition to Israel's occupation of Jerusalem.

The event this year takes place in the midst of the continuing battle between Israel and Hamas, which began in October of last year and has left about 33,000 Palestinians dead as well as extensive damage and a humanitarian crisis.

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