Hamas’ leadership holds meeting in Cairo

The political bureau of the Hamas organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, convened in Egypt’s capital Cairo yesterday for the first time since the election for the Islamist group took place a few months ago. Hamas Political Bureau Director Ismail Haniyeh chaired the meeting, which top officials from Hamas in Gaza, Qatar, Lebanon and Turkey attended. The newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported that the participants discussed the future of Hamas’s ties with Iran and Egypt, as well as the reconciliation attempts between Hamas and the Western backed Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Sources in Cairo said that a Hamas delegation was scheduled, among others, to meet with the director of Egyptian intelligence, during which Egypt is expected to clarify to Hamas that securing the Gaza border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula was a key component in reaching understandings about opening the Rafah border crossing that would alleviate pressure on the Palestinian population of the blockaded strip.