Gaza Hamas leader leaves next week for Egypt, Iran

AP News
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Posted: Jan 25, 2012 2:06 PM
Gaza Hamas leader leaves next week for Egypt, Iran

The Hamas prime minister's office says the Gaza premier will be visiting Iran as part of his tour of Muslim countries next week.

Ismail Haniyeh will make Cairo his first stop on January 30. He will also visit Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

Israel says Iran backs Hamas with funds and smuggled weapons.

Earlier this month Haniyeh toured Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia. That was the first time he left Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory from the rival Fatah movement in 2007.

Hamas says the visits prove that it has won increased international recognition and that Islamic groups in the region have more influence.

The Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah, has been concerned by the warm welcome Haniyeh has received.