AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's king has met with top Hamas leaders as part of an about-face effort to engage with Islamists, who have been gaining ground all over the Mideast.
The Islamic militant Hamas rules Gaza. A Royal Palace statement says King Abdullah II's talks Thursday with seven Hamas officials, headed by exiled leader Khaled Mashaal, focused on a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
That refers to creating a Palestinian state next to Israel. Hamas ideology rejects that, aiming for an Islamic Middle East, though some more pragmatic Hamas leaders favor some form of accepting Israel.
Abdullah's meeting with Mashaal, a Jordanian citizen, is their second since January. Mashaal was expelled in 1999 for "illicit and harmful" activities.
Islamists make up the most influential opposition in Jordan, gaining strength in recent months.