3 Hamas leaders from W. Bank to join Egypt talks


Three Hamas leaders from the West Bank may take part in next week's reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions in Egypt, a senior Hamas leader said.

"Hamas will send three of its leaders from the West Bank to join the dialogue in Cairo on Tuesday," Hasan Yousef told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

He, however, said their participation will be "subject to Israel allowing them to travel".

Israel controls all crossings in the occupied West Bank.

Yousef said Egypt was seeking to convince Israeli authorities to allow the three Hamas leaders to leave the West Bank to Cairo to attend the reconciliation talks.

He, however, refused to unveil the names of the three leaders, citing "security reasons".

Delegates from Hamas and rival group Fatah are due to meet in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss the inter-Palestinian reconciliation and allowing the West Bank-based unity government to assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip.

Yousef said the presence of a Hamas delegation from the West Bank in the Cairo meetings will "positively contribute to settling unresolved issues".

"The division has negatively affected freedoms in the West Bank and Hamas wants to open and discuss this file," he said.

Last week, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah held his first cabinet meeting in Gaza since the unity government was drawn up in 2014, in a major step towards Palestinian reconciliation.

Cairo is currently leading efforts to heal a decade-long political split between Gaza-based Hamas group and the West Bank-based Fatah movement.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained politically and administratively divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of the strip from Fatah following several days of street fighting.

Hamas's capture of Gaza in 2007 ended an earlier -- if short-lived -- unity government that was established after Hamas swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.

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