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June 11, 2017 3:20 pm

Report: Egypt Demands That Hamas Distance Itself From Iran

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Photo: Gigi Ibrahim via Wikimedia Commons.

A Hamas delegation — led by Yahya Sinwar — visited Cairo last week for meetings with Egyptian government officials, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Sunday.

This was the first such visit by a Hamas delegation to Egypt in several months, the report said, and came against the backdrop of growing cooperation against a common threat posed by radical Salafists.

The Egyptians, according to nrg, demanded that Hamas distance itself from Iran, following recent declarations by Tehran regime officials that a restoration of ties with the Gaza Strip-ruling Islamist group — including a renewal of funding — was in the works. Relations between Iran and Hamas cooled in recent years due to differences over the conflict in Syria.

Egypt, nrg said, has been angered by talk that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh might soon lead a delegation on a visit to Iran. According to the report, Sinwar was told that rapprochement between Hamas and Iran could prompt Egypt to nix plans to expand the hours of operation of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza and loosen travel restrictions.

The Egyptians, according to nrg, issued a clear directive to Hamas to not express support for Qatar amid the ongoing tensions between the Gulf emirate and a group of its regional neighbors — including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among others. Qatar’s backing of Hamas is one of the points of contention behind the dispute.

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