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Hamas Delegation to Attend Rouhani’s Swearing-in Ceremony | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Militants from the military wing of the Hamas group take part in a parade against Israel in Gaza City on July 25, 2017. (AFP)

Ramallah, London – Sources close to Hamas in Lebanon confirmed on Wednesday that a delegation from the Palestinian movement would attend the swearing-in ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rourani after receiving an invitation from Tehran.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniyeh would not attend the ceremony, but is sending a delegation from the “Hamas” leadership.

An Iranian official delivered the invitation to the movement during a meeting in Beirut.

The Iranian press had earlier uncovered that a meeting between Iranian and Hamas officials had taken place in Beirut, and published photos and details about it.

For years, secret meetings between the two sides were held in Beirut away from any media coverage.

However, Iran and Hamas appear to be sending a certain message by exposing their last meeting.

Even Israeli media outlets shed light on the meeting. They said Iranian foreign affairs official Hossein Amir Abdollahian has met in Beirut with senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri, and two other high-ranking Hamas figures, Osama Hamdan, the head of the movement’s international affairs, and Ali Barakeh, the movement’s representative in Lebanon.

The Jewish press emphasized the presence of al-Arouri in the meetings for being a controversial figure accused by Tel Aviv of conducting operations against Israel from the West Bank and considered one of the main Palestinian officials whom Qatar lately expelled.

Few weeks ago, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had also accused al-Arouri of resettling in Lebanon, where he is planning terror attacks against Israel.

Lieberman said that al-Arouri aims to boost the relationship between Hamas and Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” with the assistance of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Rouhani was officially sworn in for a second term on Thursday.