A large delegation of senior Hamas officials from Gaza and abroad, including the Islamist group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh, have been in Cairo for the past two weeks for talks with top Egyptian intelligence officials. An initial delegation, led by Haniyeh, left Gaza in early February without prior notice and has since been joined by additional members of the organization’s leadership for an unusually long visit.
Hamas claimed the visit was meant to discuss ways to ease the suffering of Gaza residents amid a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the strip, but reports indicate that it is not the main reason for the trip. Sources in the Palestinian enclave revealed that the main reason for the Hamas delegation’s extended stay in Cairo has to do with the crisis in the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction. It is unlikely, however, that any progress will be achieved, due to the deep disagreements between the two rival Palestinian factions and the fact that each side remains entrenched in its positions.