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Reports: Angry Demonstrations Forced High-Level Hamas Delegation to Flee Cairo

Ongoing tensions between Hamas and Egypt – which have seen the popularity of the Iran-backed terror group plummet amid a media blitz conducted by Egyptian security officials – deepened on Monday after a high-ranking Hamas delegation was besieged by protesters outside their Cairo hotel.

Arabic media outlets are now suggesting that the popular anger directed against the delegation was more substantial than originally reported, and that the delegation was forced to leave Egypt ahead of schedule for safety reasons.

Reports describe thousands of students and veterans attempting to storm the hotel, with hotel workers succeeding in closing the doors only after some protesters broke through. Other sources had Hamas political bureau Khaled Mashaal escaping the hotel via the back door, leaving behind Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and the rest of the delegation. Demonstrators called for the delegation to be tried and arrested.

Many Egyptians, including large swaths of Egypt’s powerful military echelon, blame Hamas for facilitating attacks and kidnappings in the Sinai Peninsula. Hamas has been blamed both for maintaining tunnels between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula, which are used by jihadists to transfer personnel and materials, and for directly fomenting Egyptian unrest stretching back to the 2011 Egyptian Arab Spring.

The Egyptian government temporarily closed the border crossing between Egypt and the Sinai after a spectacular August 2012 attack in which 16 Egyptian security officers were killed. Angry Egyptian protesters blocked the crossing again after the May 2013 kidnapping of seven Egyptian security officials.

Hamas has struggled to rebuild its shattered image. The protesters who besieged the Hamas delegation this week called for the Hamas officials to be captured and then swapped in exchange for kidnapped Egyptians still being held by Sinai terror groups.

[Photo: IranianTVOnline / YouTube]