Hamas leader in Egypt discusses blockade imposed on Gaza

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - FIsmail Haniyeh, chief of Palestinian Hamas movement, visited neighboring Egypt on Saturday to hold talks about the blockade of Gaza Strip.

Reuters cited Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum as saying the talks with Egyptian officials will focus on alleviating the blockade and mending a longstanding rift with rival group Fatah, headed by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty. Egypt has also joined Israel in enforcing an all-out land, sea and air blockade of densely populated coastal territory.

In the past few months Hamas has sought to mend relations with Egypt, which controls their one international border crossing from the Gaza Strip. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been wary of ties between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, ousted from power by Sisi after mass protests.

An Egyptian source confirmed Haniyeh’s arrival with a delegation for talks on the border crossing, security and power supplies.

The west-backed Fatah movement has also spared no effort to put more pressure on besieged Gazans to relinquish their antiIsraeli stances.

Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah leader, has cut payments to Israeli regime for the electricity it supplies to Gaza. This means that electricity has often been provided for less than four hours a day, and never more than six.

Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, recently said that Fatah will gradually cut the annual budget for Gaza if Hamas fails to reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Talking to hundreds of attendees gathering at the headquarters of the Palestinian government for his speech on situation in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Abbas warned Hamas on 6 August that the resistance movement should expect more restrictions if it refuse to merge Gaza with West Bank.

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