‘Serious steps’ underway to end Gaza siege: Hamas chief

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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Friday said that “serious” steps were being taken to lift the decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“We are seeing serious steps towards lifting the siege,” Haniyeh said in a Friday sermon delivered in Gaza City.

“We have heard opinions as to how to go forward in this regard from different states and parties,” he said, without identifying these “states and parties” by name.

But he went on to say that these “states and parties” had been prompted to come to Gaza’s aid by Monday’s massacre by Israel of scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters near the Gaza-Israel security fence.

“We are seeing offers of aid — both in public and behind the scenes — with a view to ending Gaza’s humanitarian tragedy,” the Hamas chief said.

Ongoing demonstrations in Gaza, he asserted, had prompted Egypt to open the Egypt-Gaza border for the entire month of Ramadan, which will end in mid-June.

He described this relatively lengthy — if temporary — opening of the border “as a sign of coming victory and an end of the blockade”.

Haniyeh said Hamas — along with other Palestinian factions — would “build on these achievements”, noting that the ongoing rallies had returned Gaza’s plight to the international media spotlight.

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