Meshaal threatens ‘explosion

A new round of Palestinian violence against Israel could be imminent, the leader of Hamas warned.

Khaled Meshaal said in a newspaper interview published Monday that a Western embargo on direct aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority and Israeli security crackdowns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip could lead to a “huge explosion.”

“The current situation is heading in the direction of the conditions that prevailed in the late 1990s and paved the way for the Al-Aksa intifada,” Meshaal told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, referring to the terror war the Palestinians launched in late 2000.

Hamas claimed responsibility for a rocket salvo from the Gaza Strip into Israel, stoking speculation that a full military confrontation was in the making. But Meshaal said Hamas still stood by a Gaza truce declared in November by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and he voiced hope that it could be extended to the West Bank.

Israel says the Palestinians must first carry out the cease-fire seriously in the Gaza Strip before an extension to the West Bank can be considered.

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