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Syria Shut Offices of Palestinian Groups U.S. Labels Terrorists, Powell Says

Syria has shut down the offices of some Palestinian groups regarded as terrorist organizations by the United States, fulfilling a long-standing U.S. demand, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today. “They did closures,” Powell told reporters here after traveling from the Syrian capital, Damascus, where he and President Bashar Assad met for nearly three hours. “I expect them to do more with respect to access and appearances of various officials of these organizations.” Powell specifically mentioned three groups — the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command — in his conversation with Assad, according to a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on Powell’s plane. When assured that the groups’ Damascus offices had been closed shortly before his trip, Powell pressed “to be sure it was a permanent closure and not a reincarnation three days later with another name and another location,” the official said. “We got that clear and direct.” Full Story

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