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Haniyeh in Cairo to discuss siege-breaking alternatives to tunnels

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met his Egyptian counterpart Hisham Qandil in Cairo on Monday to discuss various possibilities to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip, including alternatives to the many tunnels connecting the two countries. The tunnels have been a lifeline to import essential supplies to the enclave since the beginning of the Israeli-led siege in 2006. Plans are on the table to develop a free-trade zone on the Egypt-Gaza border at Rafah to stimulate economic growth.


According to a spokesman, Mr. Haniyeh also spoke about the threats to the city of Jerusalem and the ethnic cleansing of its Palestinian residents by the Israeli occupation authorities.

The meeting of officials from Gaza with Egypt's Prime Minister came after a delegation of senior security officers visited Cairo and discussed a number of issues, including the attack on Egyptian soldiers in Rafah last month. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk reported Egypt's official denial that Palestinians from Gaza were not involved in the attack.

Meanwhile, Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Islamic Movement's political bureau, and other senior Hamas leaders joined the Gaza delegation in Cairo aiming to continue meetings with Egyptian officials. Sources told Al-Shorouk that Meshaal and Haniyeh are also likely to meet President Mohammed Morsi.

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