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Cash-strapped Hamas gov't sends delegation to Iran

By Staff
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GAZA, Apr 11: Hamas sent a delegation to Iran today in the hope of securing financial support for the new Palestinian government after major Western donors cut off aid.

''We are keen to be open to all Arab and Muslim countries in order to urge them to stand beside us in the face of this Western boycott,'' said Hamas lawmaker Mushir al-Masri, who will take part in the delegation.

Hamas officials have acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority is broke and that they are struggling to raise enough money to pay March salaries to 140,000 state employees.

Israel has suspended tax revenue transfers to the Palestinian Authority, and the United States and the European Union have suspended direct aid to the new government.

Masri said the delegation of newly-elected Hamas lawmakers would attend a conference in Iran, and hoped to hold talks with Iranian officials, though no meetings have been set yet.

A senior Hamas official said in February that Iran had agreed to provide the new government with enough money to make up for any cuts in foreign aid.

REUTERS

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