Hamas reportedly leaving Damascus

Dec. 21, 2011 at 7:11 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Senior Hamas leaders have left Damascus, Syria, and are searching for an alternative location to set up headquarters, al-Hayat reported.

A senior Islamic official who refused to be identified told the London-based newspaper that tension between Hamas leader Khaled Masha'al and Syria's President Bashar Assad reached an all-time high, after Assad rejected Masha'al's participation in a meeting planned between the Syrian leader and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Masha'al remains in Damascus waiting to find a country that will agree to give him shelter, al-Hayat said. The report said Qatar is negotiating with Jordan concerning Masha'al.

The official said Mussa Abu-Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, left Damascus for Jordan where he is residing under restrictions placed upon him by the Jordanian government, which bar him from conducting communications and political activities.

Details of the recent events published by al-Hayat were reported by the Israeli Hebrew daily Maariv Wednesday.

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