February 20, 2009 / 3:44 PM / 10 years ago

Hamas denies giving Kerry letter for Obama

GAZA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Hamas denied on Friday it had given U.S. Senator John Kerry a letter for President Barack Obama when the senator visited the Gaza Strip this week.

A spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had said Hamas left a letter for Obama at a U.N. compound in Gaza where Kerry paid a call on Thursday.

"Hamas denies any such thing had happened. No letter was given to John Kerry," said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Islamist group.

"At the same time we stress that we are open to hold dialogue with any country and our only enemy is the Zionist occupation," Barhoum said.

Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and two U.S. Congressmen shunned Hamas during their visit to Gaza, which took place a month after a 22-day Israeli offensive in which some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died. (Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Adam Entous in Jerusalem; writing by Joseph Nasr; editing by Andrew Roche) (For blogs and links on Israeli politics and other Israeli and Palestinian news, go to blogs.reuters.com/axismundi)



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