GAZA (Reuters) – The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, left Monday for a tour of Iran and Gulf states, continuing a diplomatic drive to realign the Palestinian Islamist movement after a year of political change in the Arab world.
Non-Arab Iran, along with its Arab ally Syria, have been principal backers of Hamas. Iran has supplied funds and – according to Israel – weapons to use against the Jewish state.
GAZA (Reuters) – The leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, has effectively abandoned his headquarters in the Syrian capital, Damascus, diplomatic and intelligence sources said on Friday.
“Meshaal is not staying in Syria as he used to do. He is almost out all the time,” said a diplomat in the region who spoke on condition on anonymity.
GAZA (Reuters) – Khaled Meshaal, the top political official of Palestinian Islamist faction Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip, will not seek reelection when a vote to choose its leadership is held soon, the group said on Saturday.
A Hamas statement said Council of his intention to step down, wanting to stress the path of democracy and bring in new blood to the leadership but the Shura Council will make the final call,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in Gaza.
GAZA (Reuters) – The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas urged President Mahmoud Abbas Friday to suspend exploratory peace talks with Israel following Israel’s arrest of two Hamas legislators, and to stop his cooperation on West Bank security with the Israelis.
Hamas’ Gaza Strip leader Ismail Haniyeh, recently back from a tour of Arab states, praised the rise of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world and predicted “black days” for Israel “because the nations know their path now.”
GAZA (Reuters) – The coming rise of Islamism in the Arab world will strengthen support for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which will not give up its armed confrontation with Israel, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said Monday.
If Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas bets on peace talks with Israel rather than reconciling his Fatah movement with Hamas, he will lose out, Zahar said in an interview with Reuters in his Gaza office.
GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement said on Sunday it would have to re-evaluate its reconciliation pact with the Islamist Hamas group following the rejection of a Fatah visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip last week.
In a statement, Fatah’s Central Committee said Hamas’s behavior showed it was not interested in the implementation of the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo last year, which included the formation of a unity government and the holding of a parliamentary election on May 4.
GAZA (Reuters) – Israel killed an al Qaeda-affiliated militant in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, accusing him of involvement in planning to launch attacks on the Jewish state from neighboring Egypt.
The missile, apparently from an aircraft, that killed Abdallah Telbani and wounded two other men in a motorized rickshaw was followed by a separate strike on a jeep elsewhere in Gaza City.
GAZA (Reuters) – Gaza’s top political leader ventured from the territory on Sunday on his first regional political tour since change swept the Arab world, to lobby support for Hamas which controls the coastal strip.
Hamas’s Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said he decided to embark on the trip after being encouraged by recent political changes that have taken place in Arab countries.
GAZA (Reuters) – At last, Nael Zeyara has a steady job in construction, thanks to the smuggling of cement through Gaza’s network of tunnels to Egypt, an underground supply line that boosts the Israeli-blockaded enclave and creates jobs.
Zeyara, 30, has been out of work for four years.
“I lead a tough life with a wife and four children in a rented house,” Zeyara told Reuters as he worked.
RAMALLAH/GAZA (Reuters) – Israel released 550 Palestinian prisoners Sunday in the second stage of a deal with Hamas that brought home soldier Gilad Shalit after five years of captivity in the Gaza Strip.
While many of the 450 prisoners freed on October 18 in the first phase of the Egyptian-brokered prisoner swap were serving life sentences for deadly attacks, none in the second group was convicted of killings.