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Hamas ready for direct Israel talks

A senior Hamas leader says the group is willing to talk directly to Israel, reversing a previous ban.

In an interview with Al Quds TV to be broadcast later today, Hamas number two Musa Abu Marzouk says "Hamas is willing to talk directly to the Israelis" over issues including Gaza border crossings and prisoner releases.

His comments come two weeks after the end of a bloody war in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has run since 2007.

Over the weekend the group came in for criticism from Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, putting further pressure on it after the heavy losses it sustained during the fighting.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said he would not comment until Mr Marzouk's remarks are broadcast.

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