Hamas says Israel must make first move on ceasefire

Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:44am EST

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CAIRO Nov 19 (Reuters) - The exiled leader of the Palestinian group Hamas said on Monday Israel must take the first step if it wants a truce in the conflict in Gaza.

"Whoever started the war must end it," Khaled Meshaal told a news conference in Cairo.

Meshaal also said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested a ceasefire - an assertion the Jewish state immediately denied.

Israel bombed dozens of targets in Gaza on Monday for a sixth day on Monday, but mediator Egypt said a deal to end the fighting could be close.

Meshaal said Hamas did not want an escalation or to draw Israel into a land invasion. But he said Israel had failed to achieve its objectives in Gaza.

"The weapons of the resistance have caught the enemy off guard," he said.

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