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Gaza govt condemns Bulgaria's expulsion of Hamas delegates

Feb. 15, 2013 12:58 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 17, 2013 10:30 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Friday condemned Bulgaria's expulsion of a party delegation visiting the country, blaming Israeli pressure for the move.

Bulgarian security forces on Friday raided the hotel rooms of a visiting Hamas delegation, ordering them to leave the country, a party statement said.

"We condemn this act, which reflects the scale of compliance with Zionist pressures," government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said.

Hamas leader and MP Yahya al-Abadseh said the Bulgarian government's actions were contrary to all diplomatic norms, and that the move highlighted the huge pressure the Palestinian leadership is under.

Parliament chairman Ahmad Bahar called for Bulgaria to offer a formal apology, saying the visiting deputies were protected by parliamentary immunity.

The visit was lauded by Hamas as a sign the party was being increasingly welcomed across Europe, while prompting clarifications from Bulgaria that the government had not invited the representatives.

The PLO ambassador in Bulgaria Ahmed Madbouh told Ma'an he was informed by the Bulgarian foreign ministry that they "regret" the presence of the Hamas delegation and took a decision to ask them to leave.
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