Islamic militant groups behind many suicide bombings dismissed on Tuesday a call from interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to halt attacks in the run-up to a Jan. 9 election to replace Yasser Arafat.
Abbas, who is trying to work out a deal with rival Palestinian groups on a cease-fire and possible power-sharing, resisted a call by the groups for a share of power despite their planned boycott of the Jan. 9 election.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad do not accept the presence of a Jewish state in the Middle East. They refuse to take part in governments formed as a result of agreements with Israel and say they will not participate in the election.
However, the two movements, responsible for hundreds of deadly attacks against Israelis in four years of violence, are demanding a leadership role outside the electoral process. They want a 'unified leadership' that would exert influence on the Palestinian government.