Representatives of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group ruling the Gaza Strip, met with Iranian and Hezbollah officials in Beirut last month in an effort to forge a rapprochement following a lengthy period of tensions, the Arab language daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Sunday.
The newspaper reported that one of the Hamas officials who attended the meeting was Mousa Abu-Marzook, the deputy chairman of the organization’s political bureau.
Both sides discussed a number of issues during the meeting, including Iranian aid to Hamas which has been reduced significantly in recent years, particularly since the Palestinian organization withdrew its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
quoted a Gaza-based Hamas official, Ahmed Yusuf, as saying that the Palestinian group was reassured that Tehran viewed it as a “strategic partner.”
Yusuf, a senior advisor to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, told Asharq al-Awsat
that he anticipated ties with Iran would be restored soon.
Earlier this month, Hamas urged Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria, where they are battling for Assad, and focus on fighting Israel instead.
Hamas was once an Assad ally but last year endorsed the revolt against him in a shift that at the time deprived the Syrian leader of an important Sunni Muslim supporter in the Arab world.