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Hamas leader in Cairo ahead of Gaza protests against US embassy move

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ismail Haniyah, the head of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, delivers a speech in Gaza City on April 30, 2018. (AFP photo)

Leader of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has left the Gaza Strip for talks with Egyptian authorities ahead of planned protests against the official inauguration of the US embassy in the occupied Palestinians city of Jerusalem al-Quds.

Sources said Sunday that Ismail Haniyah had passed through the Rafah crossing earlier in the day to head to Cairo where he was planned to meet head of Egypt's security services.

The trip come just before protests in the Gaza Strip and along the border with the Israeli occupied territories against a Monday ceremony to mark the official relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

Tens of thousands are expected to line along the Israeli-fenced border to protest the embassy move which will come months after US president Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital. The move has sparked recurrent protests in Palestinian territories, including in Gaza, where anti-Israeli sentiments run very deep.

Haniyah and other Hamas leaders have expressed support for a massive protest along the border against the embassy move. They have even backed calls for breaking the fence along the border, a move which could spark violence from the side of Israeli forces. Israelis have killed more than 50 people to suppress a new wave of protests that have erupted along the border since the end of March.

Rouba (L) and Wassim (R), children of 40-year-old Palestinian Jaber Abu Mustafa, are embraced by their uncle as they mourn during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 12, 2018, as he succumbed to his wounds after being shot in the chest by Israeli forces the day before during demonstrations along the border with Israeli-occupied territories.

However, the regime in Tel Aviv fears that Monday protests could go out of control and Haniyah’s trip to Cairo may have come at the request of the Egyptian officials who maintain close ties with Israelis and seek to ease the tensions ahead of the US embassy move.

Egypt has in the past used closures of the Rafah crossing, the only gateway out for the Israeli-besieged Gaza, as a way to press the ruling Hamas movement to accept its demands.

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