Gaza's Hamas premier was in Egypt Monday on his first trip outside the blockaded territory since the Islamists overran it in 2007, saying his meeting with his Islamic ideological mentors threatens Israel.
Ismail Haniyeh discussed Mideast politics with the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as the biggest winner in the first parliamentary elections in post-uprising Egypt, capturing nearly half of the seats so far.
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Hamas is considered an offshoot of the Brotherhood.
Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie met Haniyeh at the group's newly inaugurated headquarters in a Cairo suburb.
"The Brotherhood center has always embraced issues of liberation, foremost the Palestinian issue," Badie said, according to Egypt's state Middle East News Agency.
He added that Hamas has served as a role model to the Brotherhood in its reconciliation with the Fatah movement and in closing the recent prisoner swap deal with Israel.
The Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s, but it supports Hamas in its "resistance" against Israel.
Hamas is considered a terror group by Israel, the US and EU, killing hundreds of Israelis in attacks, including suicide bombings. The West insists that before it deals with Hamas, the group must renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept existing peace accords. Hamas has refused.
'Meeting threatens Israeli entity'
Haniyeh described Hamas as the "jihadi movement of the Brotherhood with a Palestinian face." He said his visit to the Brotherhood center would confuse and frighten Israel.
"Our presence with the Brotherhood threatens the Israeli entity," Haniyeh said according to MENA.
Israel has expressed concern that a new Egyptian government under Islamist influence might cancel Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
Hamas took Gaza by force in a brief, bloody civil war in 2007, expelling forces of the rival Fatah, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel and Egypt responded by blockading Gaza. Badie criticized the blockade during his meeting with Haniyeh, according to MENA.
Egypt has been heading efforts to reconcile the two rivals. They came to some agreements last week in talks in Cairo. Hamas was represented by its supreme leader, Khaled Mashaal, who is based in Damascus.
Haniyeh said during his visit to the Arab League that reconciliation with Fatah is a "strategic" matter that should not be hindered by American and Israeli objections. Israel has said the closer Fatah gets to Hamas, the further it moves from a peace deal.
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