Hamas delegation to Cairo concludes discussions on prisoner exchange with Israel

A Hamas delegation’s visit to Cairo – in which members discussed a possible prisoner exchange deal with Israel – ended last night, sources told Mada Masr. The delegation, which included commander of the Qassam Brigades Marwan Issa and member of Hamas’ political bureau Rawhi Mushtahi, also discussed steps to ease the blockade on Gaza, as well as security coordination on issues relating to armed groups.

During this visit, the Hamas delegation “completed discussions started in meetings last month in Cairo, where the delegation felt the sincerity of the Egyptian side in dealing with the issues at hand, and their honest intentions in alleviating the suffering of our people in Gaza,” according to a statement published on the group’s website.

A Palestinian source who preferred not to be identified told Mada Masr that “the visit comes after progress made in last month’s visit, after which the Hamas government started creating a buffer zone on its borders with Egypt.”

The most recent visit which ended last night, continued the source, was a resumption of these talks, as well as discussions regarding Egypt’s mediation efforts in indirect talks between Hamas and Israel regarding the disclosure of information on Israeli prisoners Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul – who were captured during Israel’s last offensive on Gaza in 2014 – in the framework of a potential prisoner exchange deal.

A Hamas source had told Mada Masr last month that the previous Hamas delegation to Cairo, which met with senior Egyptian security officials in June, focused on the Egypt-Gaza border and security coordination to confront militant groups. Hamas’ interior ministry began to establish the buffer zone after the visit, and conducted an intensive investigation to find out whether Palestinian members of the Ibn-Taymiya Media Center – an online Salafi Jihadist organisation based in Gaza – are involved in militant activity in North Sinai.

News circulated in the past week that Palestinians associated with the Ibn-Taymiya Center were linked to an attack on Egyptian military forces in North Sinai earlier this month that killed 23 soldiers and injured many others.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, took part in a funeral event held by the Egyptian community in Gaza and sent his condolences to the families of the deceased Egyptian soldiers. “We will take measures on the border to make sure Gaza is shielded from security infiltration from any side,” Haniyeh said during the funeral.
-davisit to Cairo – in which members discussed a possible prisoner exchange deal with Israel – ended last night, sources told Mada Masr. The delegation, which included commander of the Qassam Brigades Marwan Issa and member of Hamas’ political bureau Rawhi Mushtahi, also discussed steps to ease the blockade on Gaza, as well as security coordination on issues relating to armed groups.

During this visit, the Hamas delegation “completed discussions started in meetings last month in Cairo, where the delegation felt the sincerity of the Egyptian side in dealing with the issues at hand, and their honest intentions in alleviating the suffering of our people in Gaza,” according to a statement published on the group’s website.

A Palestinian source who preferred not to be identified told Mada Masr that “the visit comes after progress made in last month’s visit, after which the Hamas government started creating a buffer zone on its borders with Egypt.”

The most recent visit which ended last night, continued the source, was a resumption of these talks, as well as discussions regarding Egypt’s mediation efforts in indirect talks between Hamas and Israel regarding the disclosure of information on Israeli prisoners Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul – who were captured during Israel’s last offensive on Gaza in 2014 – in the framework of a potential prisoner exchange deal.

A Hamas source had told Mada Masr last month that the previous Hamas delegation to Cairo, which met with senior Egyptian security officials in June, focused on the Egypt-Gaza border and security coordination to confront militant groups. Hamas’ interior ministry began to establish the buffer zone after the visit, and conducted an intensive investigation to find out whether Palestinian members of the Ibn-Taymiya Media Center – an online Salafi Jihadist organisation based in Gaza – are involved in militant activity in North Sinai.

News circulated in the past week that Palestinians associated with the Ibn-Taymiya Center were linked to an attack on Egyptian military forces in North Sinai earlier this month that killed 23 soldiers and injured many others.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, took part in a funeral event held by the Egyptian community in Gaza and sent his condolences to the families of the deceased Egyptian soldiers. “We will take measures on the border to make sure Gaza is shielded from security infiltration from any side,” Haniyeh said during the funeral.

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