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Russia invites Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to Moscow

Haniyeh was elected as Hamas' top leader last year. [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 November, 2018

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Haniyeh was elected as Hamas' top leader last year. His predecessor, Khaled Mashaal, visited Moscow frequently.

The top leader of Palestinian political party Hamas says he has received an invitation to make an official visit to Moscow.

The office of Ismail Haniyeh said the invitation was delivered on Wednesday by a visiting Russian diplomat. Its statement did not elaborate on the purpose of the visit.

Russia maintains high-level contact with Hamas, which Israel, the US and the European Union classify as a terrorist group.

Haniyeh was elected as Hamas' top leader last year. His predecessor, Khaled Mashaal, visited Moscow frequently.

Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections but Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah and much of the international community refused to accept the result, leading to increased strife.

A year later, Hamas seized control of Gaza during bitter fighting. Since then two separate Palestinian civil administrations emerged.

Russia has hosted several rounds of talks aimed at forging reconciliation between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.

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