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Hamas says leadership visited Russia, met Sergey Lavrov

A Hamas official has revealed that his movement "recently" visited Moscow and warned that the group's "patience is running out" with Israel.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh (front) flashes the victory gesture upon arriving for a meeting with representatives of other Palestinian factions at the Palestinian embassy in Lebanon's capital Beirut on September 3, 2020, in rare talks on how to respond to such accords and to a Middle East peace plan announced by Washington this year. - The meeting in Beirut is joined by video conference with talks in Ramallah between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and representatives of Palestinian factions there. Haniyeh

The Palestinian armed group Hamas said on Tuesday that it sent a high-level delegation to Russia and held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

In an interview published on Hamas’ website, Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, said party leaders visited Russia and met Lavrov and that the visit was a reflection of Hamas’ weight among major global powers.

"The leadership of the movement visited Moscow and met Sergey Lavrov. It was an important visit that highlights the role of the movement with many global actors," Arouri said. He added that there might be another international Hamas trip "in the coming weeks." Arouri did not specify when the visit to Moscow took place, saying only that it happened "recently."  

Commenting on the increasing Israeli attacks against Palestinians ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Arouri said the movement’s “patience is running out.”

Israeli-Palestinian tension has been rising in the West Bank as Israeli raids have intensified, leading to US warnings about the security situation. Israel has accused several West Bank groups including the Lion’s Den of being backed and funded by Hamas.

Meanwhile, Russian-Hamas relations have steadily grown. Russia has sought to increase its role in the Palestinian reconciliation dossier, with some Palestinians hoping it will break the US monopoly over the file that has been stalled for more than a decade.

Hamas officials have made several visits to the Russian capital, most recently in September of last year.

Moscow’s public support for Hamas also comes as its relations with Israel soured following its invasion of Ukraine last year. Israel has maintained a cautious stance in the war, but Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s February visit to Kyiv marked a small shift as Israel grows more concerned about Moscow-Tehran military cooperation and the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine.

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