Hamas chief in Egypt for talks ahead of planned meeting

Ismail Haniyeh's visit came in response to a special invitation from Cairo


Reuters June 08, 2021
Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a protest to express solidarity with the Palestinian people amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Doha, Qatar May 15, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Palestinian leaders, including Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and a delegation from the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for separate talks with Egyptian officials that aim to reinforce a ceasefire with Israel.

Haniyeh's visit came in response to a special invitation from Cairo, in advance of a broader meeting of Palestinian factions that could begin as early as next week, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.

Also read: Gaza truce shifts focus to Egypt's regional role

Jibril Rajoub, a senior figure from Abbas's Fatah movement, which runs the Palestinian Authority that exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli occupied West Bank, was also expected to meet Egyptian officials, Palestinian and Egyptian sources said. Abbas has been invited to Egypt.

The Palestinian and Egyptian sources did not say whether the delegations from the rival Palestinian groups would meet each other.

Egypt has played a major role in the brokering of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group which rules Gaza, after 11 days of conflict erupted on May 10.

More than 250 Palestinians were killed in hundreds of Israeli air strikes on Gaza during that conflict. Rockets fired by Hamas killed 13 people in Israel.

Haniyeh and Egyptian officials will discuss cementing the truce with Israel as well as reconstruction plans for Gaza, Qassem said. Egypt has said it will allocate $500 million for the reconstruction.

Egypt has tried in the past to foster cooperation between Palestinian factions, which it sees as important for wider efforts to promote peace in the region.

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