Hamas denies group leadership leaving Damascus

'Al Hayat' says Qatar agreed to host Mashaal, Hamas would open office in Egypt; official refuses to comment on other reported Schalit talks.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 Reu (photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 Reu
(photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
A Hamas official on Saturday denied reports that the group's political leadership intends to leave Damascus and move to Qatar, Israel Radio reported.
According to Israel Radio, Izzat al-Rishiq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, also denied that a Hamas office would be opened in Egypt.
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Rishiq refused to comment on another report that the commander of Hamas's military wing, Ahmed Jabari, spoke in Cairo with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Murad Muwafi about releasing captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.Earlier, the London-based newspaper Al Hayat reported that Hamas's political leadership will leave Damascus for Qatar. The report could not be confirmed by any other sources.
According to the report, Qatar agreed to host Hamas' exiled leader Khaled Mashaal and other senior officials but has not agreed to host the organization's military wing.
Palestinian officials who spoke with the newspaper said that the transfer of the Hamas leadership to Doha came after Jordan and Egypt rejected a similar request. Egyptian officials, however, reportedly agreed to open a Hamas office in the country.
Al Hayat also reported that the leader of Hamas's military wing spokewith the Egyptian Intelligence Minister about the deal to bring home Schalit. This report could also not be confirmed by any other source.
The newspaper did not specify the reasons for the decision by Hamas's political leadership to leave Syria. However, the popular uprising against President Bashar Assad is considered to be a major factor.