|Ismail Haniyeh [right] met Muslim Brotherhood leader in Cairo at the start of his tour around the Arab world [EPA]|
Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas in Gaza, has visited headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on his first trip outside the blockaded territory since 2007, when it came to power.
“The Brotherhood centre has always embraced issues of liberation, foremost the Palestinian issue,” Mohammed Badie, brotherhood leader, said on Monday after meeting the Hamas leader, according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA.
Haniyeh discussed Middle East politics with the leader of Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as the biggest winner in the first parliamentary elections in post-revolution Egypt.
He said his visit to the Brotherhood centre in Cairo would confuse and frighten Israel.
“Our presence with the Brotherhood threatens the Israeli entity,” Haniyeh said according to MENA.
The Hamas leader said he decided to embark on the trip after being encouraged by recent political changes that have taken place in Arab countries.
His aide said he will meet leaders in Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Qatar, Bahrain and Turkey and discuss rebuilding the Gaza Strip, which suffered damage during a month-long Israeli offensive in 2008-09.
Egypt mediated a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel that was completed last week and it is currently overseeing the implementation of a reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.
Meanwhile, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has said he would refuse to hold peace talks with the Palestinian Authority if it included Hamas representatives, according to Israeli public radio.
Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader, last week met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo to discuss the reorganisation of Palestinian decision-making bodies to include Hamas.
Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, when asked to confirm the comments, said the Israeli PM had been speaking to the country’s ambassadors behind closed doors.