RealNews

Hamas says it wants to lead Palestinians

Hamas, a militant group that espouses suicide attacks and a strict Islamic rule, says it is ready to take over the Palestinian leadership from Yasser Arafat. The statements on Thursday by a senior Hamas official, Mahmoud Zahar, were a rare public expression of the rising political ambitions of the group as Israel itself works to weaken Arafat. Zahar told The Associated Press that the group is “absolutely” prepared to lead the Palestinian people. He said Hamas has the infrastructure to take over leadership “politically, financially (and) socially.” Zahar said Hamas would take over through elections, not by force. Palestinians had elections scheduled for Jan. 20 but postponed them because Israeli troops are in control of most of most West Bank cities. Full Story

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