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Hamas calls for end to blockade of Gaza border

By Peter Enav

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:22 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:22 p.m. MDT

Pakistani children rally against the Israeli bombings in the Gaza strip, in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

Fareed Khan, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

DOHA, Qatar — Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is calling for the opening of Gaza's borders and the end of a more than seven-year-long blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the Palestinian strip.

Striking a defiant tone, he said Wednesday that Gaza is fighting an occupying force and that the Palestinians are "the true owners of the land."

He says Hamas cannot abandon its terms in a cease-fire agreement, and can accept a humanitarian truce that is supported by a genuine relief program for the besieged Gaza Strip.

Meshaal, spoke from exile to reporters in Qatar, Doha.

Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

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