Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a surprise move Khaled Mashaal, the head of the political arm of the militant Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas (which had previously been in the Iranian camp), met mid- July with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and other top officials in Riyadh. The meeting came a few days after the six world powers signed a historic deal in Vienna to reduce Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The meeting can be interpreted as another attempt by the Arab Sunni states to form a united front against Shi’ite Iran’s expansionism, especially after the agreement. The immediate result of the meeting was reportedly the decision by Saudi authorities to release a number of Hamas activists detained months earlier for money laundering.
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