The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Monday called on Egypt to immediately open its border with the Gaza Strip freely and forever.
Hamas spokesman in Gaza Fawzi Barhoum said that this step is needed to respond to Israel which "blocked Egypt's efforts aimed at brokering a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip between his movement and Israel.
" "The Israeli occupation has no intention to reach any agreement on lull," Barhoum said, adding that Israel "badly invests Egypt's efforts" to release Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier Hamas has been holding hostage since 2006.
Barhoum made the remarks following reports that Israeli outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has fired the top ceasefire negotiator Amos Gilad, who reportedly criticized Olmert for jeopardizing the truce talks by linking Shalit's release with easing the Gaza blockade.
Israel said it will not lift the blockade on Gaza unless Hamas releases Shalit, while Hamas stressed that Shalit's case should be separated because it has other obligations, namely releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange.