World Bulletin/News Desk
Hamas's prime minister in the Gaza Strip said on Friday he was confident Egypt's new president would shield the Palestinian enclave from Israeli attack and fully open its borders to end a trade blockade.
Mohamed Mursi, who won power in last month's presidential election in Egypt, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and ideologically close to Hamas.
The Gazans long complained that his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, ousted from power last year in a popular revolt, sided not just with Israel, but also with their political rival -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.
So far, Hamas has seen little sign of a policy shift since Mursi took office and diplomats said the Egyptian leader had so many domestic problems that he could ill-afford to dedicate much time to re-tooling Cairo's relations with the Palestinians.
However, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's Gaza government, told worshippers in a mosque that change was coming.
"We are confident that Egypt, the revolution led by Mursi, will never provide cover for any new aggression or war on Gaza," he said. "We are confident that Egypt, the revolution led by Mursi, will not take any part in blocking Gaza," he added.
Mubarak helped police the Gaza blockade and did not let any goods officially cross the border, saying this was part of longstanding accords with Washington and Israel. However, Cairo always turned a blind eye to a thriving blackmarket business with Gaza conducted through a warren of underground tunnels.
A few hundred people cross in and out of Gaza every day via Egypt and the number of passengers has increased since Mursi took office. However, officials on both sides explain this on the start of the holiday season rather than on any policy shift.
Mursi's position will soon be put to test when he meets officials from Hamas and Fatah.
Protocol means that Mursi will almost certainly see Abbas first, with one source saying it would happen on Wednesday. No date has yet been set for a Hamas delegation to be received.
Both President Abbas and Hamas are likely to be pressed by Egypt to end their long-standing hostilities, which at one point saw the two sides fight a brief civil war in Gaza.
"No one can help the Palestinians more than they can help themselves. They should take daring steps to end their rifts," an official in Cairo told Reuters by phone.
Repeated attempts at Palestinian reconciliation have ended in failure, with the two sides at loggerheads on everything from setting a date for elections to cooperating on security.
Ties between Cairo and Doha deteriorated after then-army chief Sisi removed President Mohamed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power in July 2013.
The delivery comes just after Stephen Beecroft, the new U.S. ambassador to Egypt, arrives in Cairo
Many Rohingya have previously refused to register as "Bengalis" because they say the term implies they are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009
Yazidi activist accuses ISIL militants of perpetrating the 70 deaths after Peshmerga find grave near Mosul
The insurgents came in large numbers to raid the town and clashed with security forces in it
Rescue operation is under way for the officers, local security chief in Kunduz province says
A 29 year old woman was verbally and physically attacked with local association saying it is the result of widespread hate caused by political movement Pegida.
Ban Ki Moon orders Israel to pay $850 million to foot the bill for strike on fuel tank that caused fuel spill into the Mediterranean.
Hossein Dehghan says Iran would intervene immediately if the holy sites in Iraq are threatened by ISIL or other armed groups
Nearly 5.3 million Tunisian voters are eligible to cast ballot in Sunday's election, which is billed as the country's first democratic presidential election.
Palestinians who sought refuge in Gaza after years of difficulty in Syria, say that their lives are far more difficult in Gaza, than Syria.
According to the latest World Health Organization figures, 7,373 people have died of Ebola in the three worst-affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The dead were behind the killing of a member of the security forces last Sunday, a ministry spokesman said
The election was initially scheduled for October 14 before being postponed due to Ebola outbreak
Modi has in recent weeks come under fire for being slow to rein in his hardline affiliate groups that are allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert