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As Hamas confronts Israel, its Arab support swells

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These countries have become new, or stronger, allies of Hamas over the past year as the militant group split with its former backers in Syria and Iran. Hamas left its former headquarters in Damascus after the group refused to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his brutal suppression of an uprising.

Their place has been filled by emerging Sunni Islamist governments, as well as Qatar, whose emir last month became the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007. 

Hamas official Ghazi Hamad says he is pleased with Egypt’s response to the Gaza conflict so far.

“I'm happy with the position of the new leadership in Egypt. I think they are completely different from the past,” he said by phone from Gaza. “In the past Mubarak was watching what's happening in Gaza and doing nothing. The statement issued by the Egyptian leadership, and sending a high delegation to Gaza, this proves that now there is a new voice, a new language.”

Yet he says he expects more from Egypt in the future, when its "internal situation is not so difficult," and is optimistic it will deliver. 

"Now Egypt can be the pioneer of a new era, a new political age, in order to create an Arab front to put more pressure on Israel, and stop its aggression against our people,” he says. "I think they can play a very important political role now with the other Arab countries – Tunisia, Libya, Qatar – and Turkey."

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