Now, Zahar has been quoted by Hamas-affiliated newspapers as telling Gaza City students that when Arafat realized negotiations were failing, he “recommended to Hamas to carry out a number of military operations in the heart of the Hebrew state.”

A student leader confirmed the reports of the closed-door session published Thursday in the Al Risala and Felesteen newspapers. The reports were not denied by Zahar, who could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press. Other Hamas leaders refused to discuss the statements on the record, and several privately expressed displeasure but did not deny them.