ISSN 2330-717X

Gaza PM Haniyeh To Visit Iran

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Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will visit Iran during an upcoming international tour, he announced Wednesday.

The trip will begin Jan. 30 and include a stop in Kuwait, Haniyeh said during a visit to Khan Younis Hospital in southern Gaza.

Government spokesman Tahir al-Nunu told reporters Tuesday Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent Haniyeh a letter congratulating him on the anniversary of the victory in the 2008-2009 Gaza war and inviting him to visit the the predominantly Shiite country.

The official visit suggests relations have improved between Hamas and Tehran following reports of diplomatic tensions.

Iran is said to have decreased support for Hamas over its refusal to stand up decisively for embattled Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Assad hosts Hamas’ international headquarters in Damascus, but his country’s 10-month crackdown on pro-democracy dissent has killed scores of Palestinian refugees; thousands remain displaced.

Accusations that Hamas-affiliated security forces attacked a group of Shiite worshipers in the northern Gaza Strip further inflamed tensions.

Haniyeh returned on Jan. 10 from a visit to Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia but said the tour was cut short due to personal reasons.

He met officials including Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi and Muslim Brotherhood chairman Muhammad Badie during the tour, which was his first overseas since Israel tightened its blockade in 2007.

Maan

Launched in 2005, Ma'an News Agency (MNA) publishes news around the clock in Arabic and English, and is among the most browsed websites in the Palestinian territories, with over 3 million visits per month.

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