Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed on Wednesday reports that al-Qaeda operatives have infiltrated the Gaza Strip.
In an interview to the al-Hayat daily, Abbas claimed that Hamas was responsible for allowing the operatives into the Strip, and said that a years-long alliance has existed between the two groups.
"I believe that al-Qaeda members have reached Palestinian territories and Gaza in particular. I think that al-Qaeda's presence there was made possible with the help of Hamas, especially in Gaza," he told the newspaper.
On Tuesday, IDF Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the recent breaching of the Egypt-Gaza border has enabled members of Bin Laden's group, as well as Hamas terror experts, to enter the Strip.
'Hamas indifferent to national aspirations'Abbas denied holding talks with Hamas' political leader Khaled Mashaal, and stressed that "Hamas must acknowledged the fact that it has carried out a coup. It must announce its obligation to the decisions binding the PLO, including the Arab peace initiative.
"Only then will we be able to hold elections for the presidency and the legislative council."
The Palestinian president also accused Hamas of making two attempts on his life, adding that the group "has shown, through its actions in Gaza, that it is a 'depriving movement' that wants to establish an emirate in Gaza, and that those national aspirations, which are in jeopardy because of its actions, do not interest it at all."
Commenting on the negotiations with Israel, Abbas said that no real progress has been made recently. According to the president, an independent Palestinian state could only be founded once the six core issues, namely the settlements, Jerusalem, borders, the refugees, water and security – are resolved.