Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Turkey on Sunday on the first leg of a foreign tour expected to take him to Malaysia, Russia, Qatar, Lebanon, Mauritania and Kuwait, the Anadolu news agency reported Monday.
A Hamas source said Haniyeh and his accompanying delegation arrived in Istanbul at dawn.
Hamas maintains an active headquarters in Turkey with the full knowledge and approval of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a long-time supporter of the Palestinian Authority as well as Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the group’s allies in the enclave.
This trip is the first official tour by Haniyeh, a past leader of Hamas in Gaza, since 2017, when he was elected to be the organization’s international political leader.
A large delegation is accompanying Haniyeh, according to Asharq Al-Awsat, including Hamas politburo deputy chief Saleh Arouri, the terror group’s “Diaspora Office” head Maher Salah and politburo members Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hossam Badran, Nizar Awad Allah and Khalil al-Hayya.
A source told Asharq the tour “might last for several months.” Haniyeh is expected to attend the Dec. 18-21 Kuala Lumpur summit as part of an Islamic meeting held between the leaders of Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Qatar to take part in a discussion of “sustainable development and result-oriented policy solutions,” according to the news site.
Haniyeh obtained permission from Egyptian authorities to conduct the tour during his recent visit to Cairo, a Hamas source told the Anadolu news agency. It’s not yet clear whether he will visit Iran during the tour.
Gazans use the Cairo International Airport for overseas trips.