Top Hamas leader leaves Gaza for Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage
GAZA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Deputy Chief of Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas left Gaza via Egypt on Monday for Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage, Hamas officials said.
Ismail Haniya, several other leaders of Hamas and ten security guards left Gaza and headed to Cairo airport to fly to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage, Hamas officials said at Rafah Crossing Point between the coastal enclave and Egypt.
It is the first time for Haniya to leave the Gaza Strip since the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, as there are ideological and religious links between the Hamas movement and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
Sources close to Hamas told Xinhua that after the pilgrimage, he will hold talks in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey before returning to Gaza.
Last week, Egypt reopened the Rafah border crossing with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to allow some 2,000 Palestinian pilgrims from Gaza to go to Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, Egypt extended the opening of the crossing for another day to allow the Haniya-led Hamas delegation to leave Gaza. Enditem
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