Hamas, Islamic Jihad leaders head to Cairo for talks over truce with Israel

Tuesday, 2019-12-03 14:48:20
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(Illustrative image). Hamas fighters in Gaza. (Photo: MEMO)
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Leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) headed to Cairo on Monday (December 2) for talks with senior Egyptian security officials over a possible truce with Israel, Hamas sources said.

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas chief, left for Cairo through the Rafah Border Crossing between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, the sources told Xinhua.

The talks will focus on the Egyptian efforts to reinforce a truce between Israel and the Palestinian factions, the sources said.

Internal Palestinian issues will also be discussed during the talks, they added.

It is the first time that Haniyeh has left Gaza since February, and the sources said the tour of the Hamas chief may also include Qatar and Russia.

Earlier in the day, the PIJ also announced in a press statement that the group had sent a delegation headed by its politburo member Khaled al-Batsh to Cairo for talks with the Egyptians.

According to the statement, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the PIJ's chief, will arrive in Cairo later on Monday.

The visit came at the invitation of the Egyptian authorities, the statement noted.

Media reports said a tangible Egypt-sponsored progress was made through indirect contacts between Hamas and Israel over a long-term truce.

The visit to Cairo comes as preparation for building a new hospital over an area of 40 square km near the Erez crossing point between the northern Gaza Strip and Israel is underway.

Hamas officials earlier said this hospital is part of the calm understandings that were reached between Hamas and Israel last year.

However, the Highest Commission of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Israeli Blockade said in a press statement that it will resume its weekly protests and rallies held every Friday in eastern Gaza close to the border with Israel.