Photo Credit: Hamas / Muhammad Alostaz
Ismail Haniyeh

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.

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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.

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