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Egyptian forces 'ready to defend Hamas'

June 17, 2013 9:11 A.M. (Updated: June 18, 2013 12:42 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian security has asked Hamas leaders to change the hotel its delegation is staying in after receiving intelligence that protests will be held outside, sources told Ma'an.

Hamas' chief in exile Khaled Mashaal and Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh, along with a delegation of 24 party officials, were told that demonstrators would be rallying outside the Intercontinental Hotel to protest the Islamist movement's "intervention in internal Egyptian affairs," the sources said.

Egyptian security had been asked by protestors to "send Hamas leaders out of Egypt," responding that they were prepared to defend the delegation, the sources added.

The sources added that the change in hotel was required because forces did not "have the situation under control."

The delegation is in Cairo for emergency talks with the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt Muhammad Badie.

The movement has come under sharp criticism in recent weeks after former Egyptian Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy said Hamas took part in prison riots during Egypt's revolution.

On Tuesday, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar denied the accusation saying his movement had never interfered in Egypt's security but that it maintained constant contact with Egyptian intelligence services.

In May, The Associated Press reported that orchestrated attacks on prisons in Egypt during the uprising in 2011 saw over 20,000 detainees escape.

Around 40 Hamas and Hezbollah members reportedly escaped, together with over 30 leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood.
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