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Hamas delegation arrives in Cairo to mend ties with Egyptian government

March 12, 2016 10:49 P.M. (Updated: March 12, 2016 10:49 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Saturday in a Saudi-sponsored visit aiming to resolve the tensions between the Palestinian group and Egypt.

Earlier this month, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior accused Hamas of being involved in the assassination of former Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat.

Hamas leader Ahmad Yousif told Ma'an that a visit had previously been scheduled between Hamas Politburo leader Khalid Meshaal and Egyptian Intelligence head Khalid Fawzi, but that it had been postponed after the Egyptian accusations.

Yousif added that the current visit was facilitated by Saudi intervention between the two sides, notably after a meeting between Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman.

The Hamas delegation includes Mahmoud al-Zahhar, Imad al-Alami, Khalil al-Hayya, and Nizar Awadallah, as well as delegation head Mousa Abu Marzouq.

Yousif added that the delegation will discuss several issues, including the Rafah crossing, Palestinian reconciliation, and the case of four Palestinians kidnapped in the Sinai Peninsula.

The visit is also expected to touch upon security coordination at the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Israeli violations of international law, and a proposed seaport in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Yusif said the delegation might head to several other countries in the region after Egypt, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Turkey.

Hamas has suffered poor relations with the Egyptian government ever since the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood, with whom they were closely allied, was thrown out of power in Egypt in July 2013.

The Egyptian government has in the past accused Hamas of assisting the insurgency that has spread throughout the Sinai Peninsula, although Hamas strongly denies the allegations.

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