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Official: Hamas-led parliament to convene soon

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Hamas
Israel
Mahmoud Abbas

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A Hamas-led Palestinian parliament will convene on February 16, according to Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, who held a news conference Saturday following his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Zahar stood by the radical Palestinian group Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel, and said that backing away from that stance was not presented as a condition during the meeting.

Abbas met with Hamas leaders following the surprise election victory on January 25 that gave the radical Palestinian group a majority in the Palestinian parliament.

It is the first of several meetings between Abbas and Hamas leaders scheduled for the coming days and weeks.

In the election, Hamas wrested control of the Palestinian parliament from the Fatah Party, led by Abbas, winning 76 of the 132 seats. Fatah, which has dominated Palestinian politics for four decades, won just 43.

Abbas has faced demands from Fatah supporters to step down after the election defeat.

Hamas officials have urged members of Fatah to join it in a unity government for the Palestinians, but so far Fatah officials have rejected those calls.

Hamas has a military wing that has carried out terrorist attacks and the group has called for the destruction of Israel.

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