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April 20, 2014

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Hamas rejects international peacekeepers

Updated Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 | 2:20 a.m.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza's Hamas rulers say they will oppose any international force in a future Palestine — adding a new complication to U.S.-brokered peace efforts.

Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to arrange security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians under a final peace deal. Israel has demanded it retain a security presence in the West Bank after a deal. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas opposes this, but has said he would accept international peacekeepers.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Islamic militant group, said Sunday that Hamas will deal with any international force "in the same manner it uses with Israeli occupation forces." Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis in years of conflict.

While Hamas is not part of the talks, Sunday's comments underscore its ability to hinder peace efforts.