A 12-strong Hamas delegation traveled to Cairo this week in an attempt to improve the Palestinian group’s fractured relations with the Egyptian government, but faces demands that it sever ties with the Islamist group that spawned it – the Muslim Brotherhood.
The visit by the Gaza-based militants came in a response to a public statement by Internal Affairs Minister Magdy Abdul Ghafar, accusing Hamas of involvement in the June 2015 assassination of Egypt’s prosecutor general, Hisham Barakat.
During meetings with Egyptian officials the Hamas delegation, led by senior leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar, repeatedly denied the accusations.
Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, was established in 1987 as the Palestinian branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and that affiliation lies at the heart of today’s tensions between Hamas and Cairo.
After toppling the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi in 2013, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi cracked down on the Islamist group, imprisoning its leaders and declaring it a terrorist organization.