Report: Qatar deports Hamas leader Khaled Mashal

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Qatar reportedly has deported Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashal to Turkey.

The move was first reported over the weekend in a Turkish newspaper. It comes as Qatar is working to strengthen ties with Egypt and several Gulf States that object to the Hamas presence.

Mashal visited Turkey in a surprise appearance about two weeks ago, where he called for Turkish help to “liberate” Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, Hamas leaders denied that Mashal was deported.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry in a statement issued Tuesday praised Qatar for deporting Mashal, saying the ministry had worked openly and through private channels to Qatar and other countries in order to effect Mashal’s deportation.

“We expect the Turkish government to now follow suit,” the statement said.

Mashal spent 13 years in Damascus before leaving in January 2012 due to Syria’s continuing civil war.