Hamas 'sends letter to Obama' via US senator

The Palestinian group Hamas has sent a letter addressed to the US president via a US politician visiting Gaza, a senior UN official has said.

Hamas 'sends letter to Obama' via US senator

"A letter addressed to Obama was left at the gate of our offices in Gaza; it is believed to be from Hamas," said Christopher Gunness of UNRWA, the agency for Palestinian refugees.

Asked about the contents of the letter, Gunness said: "We are very polite at UNRWA, we don't open other people's mail."

He said the letter was given to the influential senator when he met UN officials at the compound during his Gaza tour on Thursday.

Kerry did not meet any Hamas representative but stressed that his presence in the Palestinian territory, which no US official had visited for years, did not indicate a shift of US ignore towards Hamas.

Kerry, a 2004 Democratic presidential candidate who now heads the Senate's foreign relations committee, was scheduled to hold talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Friday.

He planned to fly on to Syria on Saturday as part of a regional tour.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, who ran a campaign for president in 2004, and two members of the House of Representatives, Brian Baird and Keith Ellison, entered the Gaza Strip separately.

Ellison is the first Muslim member of the US House of Representatives. He was elected in 2006.

The visit follows a 22-day offensive which Israel launched attacks against the Gaza Strip. The bombardment killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children in Decemcer 2008 on Gaza and wounded 5,300 Palestinians, and Gaza infrastructure suffered massive damage totaling at least 476 million dollars, according to Palestinian medics and officials.

Israel barred U.S. diplomats from entering the impoverished coastal enclave since 2003.

Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney attempted to travel to Gaza by sea in December, but the ship was rammed by an Israeli gunboat and diverted to Lebanon.

In 2008, former US President Jimmy Carter was denied permission to enter Gaza by the Israeli government. Carter did meet Hamas officials in Syria and Egypt.


Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2009, 16:58
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