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Reeling From Gaza War and Lebanon Crisis, Hamas and Hezbollah Chiefs Meet in Beirut

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Palestinian group Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a protest to express solidarity with the Palestinian people amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Doha, Qatar May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Hussein Sayed

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and head of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh met in Beirut on Tuesday to discuss repercussions of last month’s hostilities in Gaza, in what one Israeli analyst called a sign of the two groups’ current “weakness and distress.”

At the meeting, the two leaders stressed “the depth of the existing relationship between Hezbollah and Hamas and its key position in this blessed axis and in this decisive battle,” according to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu, which cited a statement from the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Haniyeh and Nasrallah discussed how they can build on the experience of the latest 11-day round of Israel-Hamas clashes in May and how they can further deploy and organize the capabilities of their groups for their activities against Israel.

According to Orna Mizrahi, senior research fellow at the Israel-based Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the Beirut meeting comes at a time when both Hezbollah and Hamas suffer from severe internal distress: the former because of the complete collapse of the Lebanese state; and the latter due to the aftermath of the fighting with Israel in Gaza in May.

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“This meeting can be seen as another expression of the growing cooperation between Hamas and the Shiite axis led by Iran that risks Israel, but in my opinion this meeting actually expresses the weakness and distress of the two, who need the resulting moral encouragement of each other,” Mizrahi told The Algemeiner.

Haniyeh arrived in Lebanon with a high-ranking delegation on Sunday as part of a tour of Arab countries to meet senior officials. He has already held talks with officials in Egypt, Morocco and Mauritania.

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