Senior Bahrain official to visit Gaza, open new schools

Royal Charity Organization head Mustafa al-Sayed to lead delegation to Strip this week; visit follows Qatari emirate’s visit last week

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza says a senior official from the Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain will visit the territory.

Taher Nunu said Tuesday that Mustafa al-Sayed, head of the Bahrain Royal Charity Organization, will lead a delegation to Gaza this week. He said Sayed will open schools funded by the charity.

Last week Qatar’s ruler met with Hamas leaders in Gaza, the first visit by a head of state.

Hamas seized Gaza in 2007.

While Sayed has been to Gaza previously, the timing of this visit appears to signal growing ties between Gulf countries and the Islamic terror group.

On Monday, Bahrain’s foreign minister rebuffed reports that the country’s king would visit Gaza this week.

On Sunday, Egypt’s state-run news agency and a Gaza newspaper had reported that Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa would visit the Strip on Thursday, citing “informed sources.”

On Monday, however, the foreign minister in Manama, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, said that there was no such planned trip.

“There is no scheduled visit by HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to Gaza or to the Palestinian territories and there are no visits planned for the future,” he wrote on the Twitter social-media website.

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