Hamas’s Haniyeh and Meshaal in Cairo, met with Egypt Intelligence Chief

Ahram Online , Thursday 9 Nov 2023

A Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal left Cairo following a short visit on Thursday morning in which they met the head of the Egyptian Intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel, and discussed the issue of captives and humanitarian ceasefires, according to sources that spoke to the media.

Egypt s Chief of General Intelligence Abbas Kamel (L) and Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh. (R))

According to the short statement issued by Hamas on its official Telegram group, the head of its political office, Ismail Haniyeh, arrived in Cairo along with Khaled Meshaal and Khalil Al-Hayya, where they discussed the latest developments in Gaza with the Head of Egyptian General Intelligence Service General Abbas Kamel with revealing more details.

According to Egyptian informed sources that spoke with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed News website, the Hamas delegation's visit to Cairo aimed to discuss the file of captives held by the movement in exchange for a humanitarian ceasefire.

Egypt and Qatar play roles in the issue of prisoners and captives.

The sources added that Abbas Kamel discussed with the Hamas delegation mediation efforts to release some foreign prisoners in exchange for a temporary ceasefire that lasts two days.

On Wednesday, news reports stated that Egypt is close to brokering a "humanitarian truce" deal in Gaza that would involve an exchange of Israeli captives and Palestinian detainees.

The sources pointed out that Hamas confirmed its openness to Egyptian mediation efforts, emphasizing that the Hamas delegation conveyed to the Egyptian intelligence chief the need to deliver fuel to the strip as soon as possible as part of the humanitarian ceasefire terms being worked on by both Egypt and Qatar.

Israel has been barring fuel from entering Gaza for weeks now. 

According to the sources, Haniyeh emphasized "Hamas's rejection of displacement to any place outside of Gaza," warning that Israel's continued targeting of public facilities in the strip could force a large segment of the population to head towards the borders to meet their urgent humanitarian needs."

The sources mentioned that officials in Cairo confirmed to the Hamas delegation Egypt's rejection of the majority of proposals relating to the administration of Gaza after the war, stressing that these confirmations were well-received by the Hamas delegation.

The visit of the three leading Hamas figures came 24 hours before the expected visit by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who is set to arrive in Cairo on Friday to hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The situation in Gaza is expected to dominate the discussions during the visit.

The visit also comes 48 hours before the urgent Arab Summit meeting to be held in Riyadh, as per the request of Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, on Saturday.

The visit of Hamas leaders to Cairo came 48 hours after Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Burns visited Cairo on Tuesday, where he met President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to discuss the Israeli war on Gaza.

According to a Wall Street Journal report published on Thursday, the Egyptian President rejected, during his meeting with Burns, a proposal suggesting that Egypt manage security in Gaza until the Palestinian Authority (PA) can take over after the end of the war.

The newspaper added that the Egyptian President asserted the Egyptian government “will not play a role in eliminating Hamas as it needs it to help secure Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip.”

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