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Syria rejects Hamas plot confessions in Jordan

Written by: Staff
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KUWAIT, May 12 (Reuters) Syria today rejected televised confessions by two Hamas activists arrested in Jordan who said they had received military training in Syria.

''I completely deny the authenticity of this,'' Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem told a news conference in Kuwait when asked about the militants' confessions aired on Jordanian state television yesterday.

''We care for Jordan and ties are constructive between Syria and Jordan,'' Mualem added.

The exiled leadership of Hamas is based in Syria. Jordan said on Wednesday it had arrested 20 Hamas activists last month who were part of a plot to stage attacks in the kingdom.

Yesterday, two of the suspects said on Jordanian television they were recruited by operatives from the Palestinian militant group's Damascus-based leadership.

The television showed rocket launchers that it said were part of an uncovered Hamas arms caches.

There was no way to verify the authenticity of the confessions.

Independent lawyers and rights groups say many confessions by political detainees are extracted under duress.

Hamas has repeatedly denied accusations that its members are involved in arms smuggling to Jordan from Syria and refuses to join a committee set up by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to investigate the case with Jordanian officials.

REUTERS PG PM0130

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