GAZA - Hamas's two top Gazan leaders made their first public appearances on Friday, having gone to ground during the December-January war with Israel, witnesses said.

They said that Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al-Zahar delivered separate mosque sermons. Neither had been seen publicly since December 27, when Israel launched a 22-day offensive to counter Palestinian short-range rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The tinderbox territory has been largely quiet since the rightist government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took power this month, though he has set toppling Islamist Hamas among his long-term goals.

Egypt, which brokered a truce to end the Gaza war, has since held several rounds of talks aimed at reconciling Hamas with its Western-backed rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.