IN BRIEF : Hamas offers Israel conditional truce

Jerusalem - The militant Islamic group Hamas issued a statement yesterday saying it will stop attacks against Israel until 8 March. The group said Israel must then release Palestinian prisoners and stop its offensive against members of the Hamas military wing.

The statement, released to the Associated Press by a Hamas source, was signed by Izzedine al-Qassim, the military wing of Hamas. It said Israel had until 7pm on 8 March to respond to the demands, and if it did not "it will be considered that Israel is violating the agreement". Aliza Goren, an adviser to the Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, said his office had no comment on the demands.

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