Monday, March 12, 2007; 6:23 AM
GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas rejected on Monday criticism by al Qaeda's second-in-command and said it was still committed to Israel's destruction despite a power-sharing deal with the Fatah faction.
"Fathi Hamad, Hamas member of Palestinian Legislative Council, demanded the kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers in order to force Israel to free the [Palestinian] prisoners. Hamad said this at a gathering of the "Wa'ed" organization for prisoners and released [prisoners] in Khan Yunis ... Hamad stressed it was the responsibility of the government, the Legislative Council, the [armed] factions and military arms to dedicate all the efforts at their disposal to free the prisoners. He argued that the kidnapping of the soldier Gilad Shalit hit Israel very hard." [Al Ayyam, March 10, 2007]