Hamas hopes Morsy´s Egypt will focus on Palestine (REUTERS) By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA 06/24/12 2:47pm EDT)
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(Reuters) - The Gaza Strip´s governing Hamas on Sunday welcomed the
victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt´s presidential vote,
saying its ideological ally´s success would help the Palestinian
The impoverished enclave burst into celebration upon hearing that the
Muslim Brotherhood´s Mohamed Morsy had won elections held after
former president Hosni Mubarak fell to a people´s revolt last year.
Locked in a long power-struggle with its secular Palestinian rivals,
Hamas had a mixed relationship with the previous, U.S.-aligned
Egyptian president, who supported Israel´s blockade on Gaza.
"We will look to Egypt to play a big, leading role, a historic role,
regarding the Palestinian cause, in helping the Palestinian nation
get freedom, return home, and totally end the Gaza siege," Ismail
Haniyeh, head of the Hamas government, told Reuters Television.
In Gazan streets, the jubilation recalled that which greeted Hamas´s
shock victory in a Palestinian election in 2006.
Sweets were handed out to passersby, many of them waving Egyptian
flags. Thanksgiving sermons echoed from mosque loudspeakers and
gunmen fired in the air - the latter accidentally killing a man and
wounding three other people, medical officials said.
Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood share ideological roots, including a
hostility to Israel, with which Egypt signed landmark peace accords
The U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has pursued
stop-start peace negotiations with Israel, also had warm words for
the Muslim Brotherhood, calling Morsy "the choice of the great people
Saeb Erekat, a senior Abbas aide, said the democratic vote for
Morsy "meant the Palestinian cause was the Number One priority for
But Erekat said Palestinians had to heal the five-year-old and
sometimes bloody schism between Hamas and Abbas´s once-dominant Fatah
"Regardless of who the Egyptian president is, Palestinian
reconciliation is a Palestinian matter, and if we do not help
ourselves, no one will," Erekat said.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Dan
Williams; Editing by Andrew Osborn) (© Thomson Reuters 2012.
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