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'Hamas visit to Cairo aims to renew relations with Egypt': Hamas official

Ahram Online , Ahmed Eleiba , Wednesday 16 Mar 2016
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The deputy chief of the political bureau for Gaza’s Hamas, Moussa Abu Marzouq, told Ahram Online on Wednesday that a visit to Cairo by a Hamas delegation was intended to “open a new phase of relations with our brothers in Egypt.”

“Although some people were attempting to ruin our visit… we found that Egyptian officials showed love for Palestine,” Marzouq said in an emailed statement.

Ahram Online learned from knowledgeable sources that Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip that borders Egypt, met with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo in an attempt to ease increased tensions over accusations that the group was involved in the assassination of Egypt's prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat last year.

Two weeks ago, Egypt's interior minister Magdy Abdel-Ghafar said that leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey and the group's Palestinian offshoot Hamas were behind the assassination of Barakat on 29 June 2015.

Abdel-Ghafar said that Turkish-based leaders of the Brotherhood masterminded the assassination, while Hamas "provided training for militants to execute it and also took part in planning it."

However, Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, expressed dismay at Abdel-Ghafar's accusations, with spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri describing the claims as "untrue," saying the accusations are not in line with "efforts exerted to develop relations between Hamas and Cairo."

"The Hamas delegation expressed the movement's commitment to Egypt's security and non-interference in its internal affairs, ," Abu Marzouq said.

"We condemned Barakat's murder and assured the Egyptian authorities that Gaza is severely affected by the lack of security in Sinai.”

Egypt and Hamas have seen tense relations in recent years, with the Egyptian government accusing Hamas of aiding Islamist militants in North Sinai, which borders Gaza.

Hamas has repeatedly denied the claim.

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