Hamas denies expulsion from Qatar

Hamas spokesman claims "false reports were spread in the media trying to slander and hurt Hamas's international relations."

June 4, 2017 11:52
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Hamas protest. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hamas published Sunday a formal denial in response to reports that Qatar demanded several Hamas members leave the Persian Gulf Country, Channel 2 reported.

Hamas spokesman Husaam Badran said, "false reports were spread in the media trying to slander and hurt Hamas's international relations."

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Badran stated that following internal elections that led to Ismail Haniyeh being elected as Hamas politburo leader, changes were being implemented within the Islamist organization's activities according to its needs. "We thank Qatar for their positive role, its continuity, in the framework of helping the Palestinian people and the construction of Gaza."

According to pan-Arab TV network Al Mayadeen, an unidentified Qatari envoy reportedly met with senior Hamas officials in Doha Saturday to hand the group a list of those designated to leave the country. Individuals on the list included figures responsible for coordinating between Doha and Hamas members in the West Bank.

The Qatari envoy, according to Al Mayadeen, expressed “regret” over the decision, saying “external pressure” forced the decision.

The Lebanese-based news agency also hinted that Israel was behind the move, claiming the names on the expulsion list were provided by detainees who were arrested and interrogated by Israeli authorities.

Yasser Okbi/Maariv HaShuavua and Daniel J. Roth contributed to this article.

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