Hamas leadership denies move from Damascus to Qatar
Hamas's exiled leadership is not planning to move its headquarters from Syria to Qatar, a senior official from the group said Saturday, denying earlier media reports, dpa reported.
The group's political leaders have been based in Syria since 1999.
"Our bureau is still working and being supported by the government in Damascus," Doctor Ahmad Yousef, political advisor of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told the German Press Agency dpa.
According to the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, Hamas leaders are to leave Syria and relocate to the Gulf state.
But Yousef told dpa the report was "completely nonsense."
Izzat al-Rishq, a Syria-based member of the politburo, also said that the movement "still manages its political and media activities from Damascus" and said "there is no change to Hamas' presence in Damascus."
Qatar has reportedly agreed to a request to host the politburo, led by Khaled Meshaal, but has refused to host the group's military wing.
The London-based daily also reported that Jordan and Egypt had rejected a similar request, though Egypt has allowed Hamas to open a bureau.
Saturday's report came after representatives from Hamas and Fatah announced in Cairo their intention to reconcile after a four-year bitter and at times violent rift that has seen Hamas administer the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the control of the Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority.
It also comes amid a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters in Syria that has left more than 450 killed since mid-March.
Over the past decade, Qatar has been a key United States ally as it hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East as well as being a growing force in the region.
However, leaked cables have shown that the United States was concerned with Qatar's continuing support of Hamas via charity organisations.
Reports said that Qatar has channeled around 50 million dollars to Hamas over the past five years.