An Egyptian security delegation carried out a brief visit to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to hold talks with Hamas officials.
The unannounced hours-long visit was part of the delegation’s following up on several issues, including bilateral relations, common security issues, calm with Israel, internal reconciliation and a prisoner exchange.
Major General Ahmed Abdel Khaleq, chief of the Palestinian affairs in the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, headed the delegation, the Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint’s media department reported.
Discussions focused on Palestinian reconciliation and efforts to ensure the success of the upcoming elections, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Israel’s detention of and threats against Hamas lawmakers was also discussed, in addition to the commitment to the outcomes of the Palestinian factions’ previous meetings in Cairo. These include means of monitoring the elections in the Strip and the pledge to respect their results, the sources explained.
The sources said Hamas officials urged Cairo to pressure Israel to allow elections to be held in Jerusalem.
They revealed that the visit was not aimed at tackling the prisoner exchange even though discussions over this file are constantly being held.
“Egyptians are strongly involved in this case, and discussions about it are held every now and then.”
However, Hamas' position on this issue is clear, the sources stressed, adding that the movement has repeatedly informed the mediators that Israeli prisoners will only be released in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli jails.
The visit was the first to the Strip this year, but a security delegation had earlier traveled to Ramallah and met with Fatah Central Committee members and head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service.
Palestinians plan to hold legislative elections on May 22 and presidential polls on July 31, for the first time in 15 years.