As Qatar continues its shift away from the Muslim Brotherhood and its Gaza-offshoot Hamas in favor of stronger ties with Egypt, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal was expelled from the country on Tuesday along with Muslim Brotherhood members.
Mashaal and the Muslim Brotherhood members are likely on their way to Turkey according to the report, which appeared in a Hamas-run news agency and was cited by CNN.
It was rumored last September that Mashaal was to be expelled from Qatar, rumors which Hamas at the time denied, but which came after Qatar expelled seven senior Muslim Brotherhood members in an effort to close ever growing gaps with Egypt.
For its part Turkey, also a leading sponsor of Hamas like Qatar, said it would welcome the seven leaders.
Qatar has likewise in the past threatened Mashaal with expulsion; last August during Operation Protective Edge, a senior member of the Palestinian Authority (PA) said Hamas chose to breach one of the many ceasefires with Israel due to a Qatari threat to expel Mashaal.
The source reported that Qatar had pushed Hamas to demand it play an active role in Cairo truce talks, a proposal which Egypt refused, stipulating that Qatar apologize for its policies as the leading sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar specifically stated it would force Mashaal to leave if Hamas agreed to the Egyptian truce proposal in its structure at the time.
Likewise last month it was reported that Qatar had informed Hamas it would temporarily cut its funding for the terror group to cultivate ties with Egypt, reports that Hamas denied.
Cutting funding would be part of active steps Qatar has been taking to solidify improved relations with Egypt, after years of tension due to Qatar's support of Muslim Brotherhood.
As part of those steps of rapprochement, Qatari-owned Al Jazeera news network last month shut down its Egypt channel, easing a source of tension as Egypt has accused the news source of being a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Just two days earlier, a Qatari envoy met with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the first such meeting since he was elected in June.
Qatar's support for Hamas has led to calls to stop Qatar from hosting the World Cup in 2022 unless it ceases its funding of terrorism.
Despite the report appearing for the first time in a Hamas-affiliated news outlet, time as well several senior Hamas spokesmen have angrily denied the reports their leader has been expelled from his base in Doha.
"There is no basis of truth about brother Khaled Mashaal leaving Doha. We are in Doha now," Izzat Rishq, a close aid of Mashaal's, told The Associated Press, sentiments echoed by two other leading spokesmen in both Qatar and Gaza.