High-level Hamas delegation to visit Saudi Arabia

Movement open to meet with Saudi officials during umrah visit

Ismail Haniyeh
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A Hamas delegation headed Ismail Haniyeh, the movement’s leader, is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia today after years of strained relations, according to the Jerusalem Post.اضافة اعلان

The Hamas-affiliated Al-Resalah newspaper reported that the delegation is visiting the kingdom for the purpose of performing umrah. However, meetings with Saudi officials are not off the table, according to the movement.

From Hamas’ side, there are hopes that the visit will serve as a starting point for enhancing its relations with Saudi Arabia, according to a London-based news site.

Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas's diaspora office, and Hamas officials Musa Abu Marzouk and Zaher Jabarin are also part of the delegation, according to reports.

Thawing relations?Relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia have been strained in recent years as the Kingdom has arrested members of the movement and charged them with supporting a terrorist organization. Hamas has responded with outrage at the arrests.

Tensions further increased as Hamas became closer with Iran, and due to the movement's links to the Muslim Brotherhood. However, in recent months, the two parties have begun to express a warming of ties after Saudi Arabia released some of those arrested.

Haniyeh told Russia Today last September that the movement was hoping to reconcile with the kingdom.

Furthermore, after Saudi Arabia and Iran resumed diplomatic relations in March, Hamas welcomed the step in a statement, saying: "We believe that this important step is in the interest of the Palestinian cause, and supports the steadfastness of our people in the face of the occupation and its continuous aggression against our land, people, and sanctities."

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