Hamas officials in Egypt for talks on Fatah, Schalit

Group's leaders also expected to discuss Gaza truce and requests for Egypt to reopen Rafah border crossing.

Marzouk 88 (photo credit:)
Marzouk 88
(photo credit: )
Hamas officials arrived in Cairo Tuesday for talks with Egyptian officials on a prisoner exchange with Israel and ways of ending a yearlong rift with Fatah. Hamas deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk and Mohammed Nasr, a member of the group's political bureau, flew from Damascus to join several delegates from Gaza who traveled over land earlier in the day, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported. MENA said the Hamas leaders would meet with Egyptian officials, but gave no further details. Before leaving Damascus, Nasr said the Hamas leaders would discuss the group's fragile truce with Israel and its requests for Egypt to reopen the Rafah border crossing. Egypt is reportedly working to bring Israel and Hamas into proximity to bolster the Gaza truce and negotiate the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. In the prospective talks, Egyptian officials would shuttle between Israeli and Hamas delegations located in separate places in the Egyptian capital. It was not immediately known if Ofer Dekel, the Israeli official in charge of the negotiations on the prisoners, was also in Cairo for the talks. Hamas wants Israel to release 450 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Schalit. Israel has balked at Hamas demands for a large-scale release of Palestinian prisoners, including many convicted of deadly attacks.