Egypt says moving diplomats from Gaza to West Bank

1218.jpgCAIRO, June 19 (Reuters) – Egypt has decided to move its ambassador to the Palestinian Authority to the West Bank from Gaza, state media reported on Tuesday, in a snub to Hamas which seized control of the Gaza Strip last week.Egypt has condemned the Islamist Hamas for crushing the more secular Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza, urging all Palestinians to rally behind Abbas. 

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit signed an order on Tuesday to move his ambassador from Gaza to Ramallah, where Fatah has retained sway, the official Middle East News Agency (MENA) quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying. 

He said other diplomats would move within days, the agency reported. Egypt has had a diplomatic mission in Gaza for 12 years, MENA said. 

Foreign Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment. 

Abbas appointed an emergency government on Sunday after firing the cabinet led by Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Haniyeh has declared the emergency government unlawful and has said he would go on working as prime minister. 

Egypt, a key regional power, enjoys strong ties with Fatah but has been able to exercise little influence over Hamas. 

More than 340 Fatah loyalists, including security men, have taken refuge in Egypt since the Hamas takeover, while 108 others have returned to the coastal strip after the Islamist group agreed to re-admit them provided that they left their guns behind, Egyptian security officials said. 

One official said negotiations were under way to transfer the Palestinians in Egypt via Jordan to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

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