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Hamas's Meshaal in rare meeting with Saudi King Salman

High level Hamas delegation meets with top Saudi officials in Riyadh
Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal is seen on a control screen as he answers AFP journalists' questions during an interview in the Qatari capital Doha, on 10 August 2014 (AFP PHOTO/AL-WATAN DOHA)

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal has met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in Riyadh on Friday, a source in the Palestinian movement told Reuters.

Meshaal was accompanied by a number of senior Hamas members when he met King Salman along with other top Saudi officials, including the kingdom's crown prince and defence minister

The Hamas-Saudi meeting, the first in a number of years, is seen as part of a rapprochement drive between the Palestinian movement and Riyadh, following the death of King Abdullah in January 2015.

"The delegation discussed Palestinian unity and the political situation in the region. This meeting will hopefully develop relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia," the source told Reuters.

The delegation of Hamas leaders were reported to be in Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah, or lesser pilgrimage, sources told MEE on Wednesday.

Hamas was reportedly banned from entering the Gulf country during the reign of former King Abdullah.

Haaretz recently reported that Saudi Arabia has been facilitating contacts between Hamas and its Palestinian rival Fatah, in an effort to advance reconciliation between the two Palestinian factions and improve Hamas’ relations with both Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

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