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Hamas PM hails Egyptian counterpart's 'historic' visit to embattled Gaza

Egyptian PM Hisham Qandil returns to Egypt after visiting hospital, holding press conference with Hamas premier Ismail Haniya amid ongoing Israeli bombardment of besieged Gaza Strip

Ahram Online, MENA, Friday 16 Nov 2012
Qandil & Haniya
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (R) waves as he receives Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil (L) in Gaza City November 16, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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"Palestine is the heart of the Arab world, which cannot function efficiently in case of sickness," Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said at a press conference in Gaza City on Friday attended by Hamas Premier Ismail Haniya.

Qandil returned to Egypt via the Rafah Border Crossing following the press conference, at which he publicly laid out the Egyptian position on Israel's three-day assault on the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

He pointed out that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had instructed him to make the short trip, emphasising Cairo's support for the Palestinian people and their perennial struggle against the Israeli occupation.

The Egyptian premier urged Tel Aviv to abide by its international commitments and agreements, vowing not to "remain silent" about the ongoing Israeli violence against the Gaza Strip and its roughly 1.7 million inhabitants.  

"This visit reflects post-revolution Egypt's solidarity with Gaza," Haniya said of Qandil's visit, which, following a visit by the two men to Gaza's overwhelmed Al-Shifaa Hospital as "historic."

Qandil crossed into the Gaza Strip on Friday for a brief visit amid a massive Israeli military campaign aimed at Gaza-based resistance fighters. During his short trip, the Egyptian PM met with leading members of Hamas, which has governed the territory since 2007.

On Thursday, Morsi – who hails from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an ideological offshoot – warned that Egypt would "not accept" continued Israeli aggression against the strip and its inhabitants.

Shortly before his arrival at the Rafah Border Cossing, Israel said it would halt its aerial campaign during Qandil's short visit.

Palestinian security sources and medics, however, told AFP that Israeli war planes had bombarded the northern Gaza Strip on Friday morning, killing two.

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