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Hamas: Mashaal arrives in Cairo to discuss Gaza crisis

Nov. 17, 2012 2:35 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 18, 2012 3:21 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal headed a Hamas delegation to Cairo on Saturday to discuss Israel's ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, Hamas media said.

The Institute for Palestine Studies said the Gaza delegation met with Egyptian intelligence officials to discuss the escalation in Gaza, which has killed 39 Gazans and injured hundreds since Wednesday, Hamas' English website said.

Mashaal's trip is timed to coincide with visits to Egypt by Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan and secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the site said.

Qatari prime minister and foreign minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani is also set to visit Cairo on Saturday to discuss the Gaza crisis with President Mursi.

"Egypt's presidency will meet today with (exiled Hamas leader Khaled) Meshaal, Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the situation in Gaza," an Egyptian presidential source told Reuters.

The talks will focus on ways to deescalate violence in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas site said.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama called Mursi to commend the country's efforts to help calm the situation in Israel and Gaza and underscored his hope of restoring stability there, the White House said.

Egypt's prime minister, Hisham Kandil, has said Cairo is prepared to mediate a truce in the growing violence between Israel and Hamas.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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