Hamas affirms to complete prisoner exchange deal in coordination with Egypt

Hamas political bureau has concluded its meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo, the Palestinian resistance group said on Saturday.

An Israeli court ruling on Wednesday deeming the performance of Jewish prayer inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex not a “criminal act” has ignited fears among Palestinians that the move is a prelude to divide the holy site between Muslims and Jews in terms of time and space.

In a statement, Hamas said the days-long meeting discussed a host of issues, including the current situation in Jerusalem city, Palestinian prisoners and the years-long blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas warned Israel in the statement that Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem are “a red line”, vowing to “protect them at all costs.”

The group, which rules the Gaza Strip, also warned Israel against continuing to expand its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Relations between rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas had been tense since the latter seized control of the Gaza Strip following deadly clashes with pro-Fatah forces in 2007 – one year after Hamas defeated Fatah in Palestinian legislative polls.

Hamas also reiterated its willingness to “achieve unity and end inter-Palestinian divisions” and to pursue democratic means “to form a single central leadership represented by rebuilding the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)”.

Numerous agreements and mediations to end the Palestinian rift have failed.

Hamas said plans for a prisoners swap with Israel are ongoing as well as ending the siege imposed on Gaza since 2006.

There are around 4,850 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, including 40 women, 225 children, and 40 administrative detainees, according to institutions concerned with prisoners’ affairs.


Arab Observer

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