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Egypt releases Hamas official detained at Cairo airport

Reuters , Thursday 20 Aug 2015
Hassan Asseify
Hassan Asseify (Photo: Ahram Gate)
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Egypt will allow a Hamas official detained two days ago at Cairo airport for problems with his paperwork to return to Gaza, security sources said on Wednesday.

Egyptian authorities on Monday stopped Hassan Asseify, the deputy religious affairs minister in Hamas-ruled Gaza, on his way back from Saudi Arabia to the Palestinian enclave after airport security found him not approved to enter Egypt, security sources said on Tuesday.

Asseify will be allowed to leave Egypt for Gaza within hours, following "intensive contact" between Hamas officials and Egyptian security agencies, security sources said on Wednesday.

Hamas has long had ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that was ousted from power when former president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The Egyptian government has accused Hamas of helping Islamist militants in Egypt's Sinai desert, which borders on Gaza, to attack its security forces. Hamas denies this.

A decision by an Egyptian court in June to cancel a previous ruling labelling Hamas a terrorist group raised speculation that relations between Egypt and Hamas may improve.

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