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Egypt's PM to Visit Gaza, Meet Haniyeh

Egypt's prime minister Hisham Qandil to visit Gaza, express his country's solidarity with Hamas.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/16/2012, 1:13 AM

Egypt's prime minister Hisham Qandil
Egypt's prime minister Hisham Qandil
AFP/File

Egypt's prime minister will visit Gaza on Friday, to express his country's solidarity with the Hamas-ruled territory, a spokesman for President Mohammed Morsi said on Thursday.

Hisham Qandil "will travel to Gaza to express our support for the Palestinian people and to see what they need," Morsi's spokesman, Yasser Ali, was quoted by AFP as having told state television.

He will be accompanied by a number of Morsi's aides, as well as by Health Minister Mohamed Mustafa Hamed, Ali said.

Earlier, Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu announced the visit and said "we welcome this visit and appreciate this courageous stand."

The visit "confirms the support of the Egyptian leadership, government, and people for the Palestinian people in the shadow of the Israeli war against them in Gaza," he added, saying Qandil would meet Hamas’s Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense, which began with the targeted killing of top Hamas terrorist Ahmed Jaabari on Wednesday, sparked a furious response from Morsi, who promptly recalled Cairo's envoy to the Jewish state.

On Thursday, Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood movement that gave birth to Hamas, warned that Egypt would not accept Israel's "aggression" in Gaza.

"The Israelis must understand that we do not accept this aggression, which could lead to instability in the region," Morsi was quoted as having said in televised remarks.

"Shortly before dawn, I called President Obama and we discussed the need to put an end to this aggression and to ensure it does not happen again," he said.

"We discussed ways to promote calm and to stop these acts... and to achieve peace and security."

"I explained Egypt's role, Egypt's position, that we have relations with the United States and the world, but at the same time we totally reject this aggression."

On Wednesday, Morsi also ordered the foreign ministry to summon Israeli ambassador Yaakov Amitai over the Israeli operation.

Amitai, however, had left Cairo even before the operation began and will likely not return in the coming days.