Hamas leaders relocate from Qatar to Iraq under Iranian protection amid pressure for prisoner deal

DOHA / BAGHDAD — Following increasing pressure from Doha and Washington on Hamas to accept an Israeli offer for a new prisoner deal, leaders of Hamas have reportedly decided to leave Qatar and move to Iraq under Iranian protection.

Sources within the Iraqi government confirmed that Hamas leaders, who arrived in Qatar last month, will relocate from Doha to Baghdad. In Baghdad, Iran will provide protection for the leaders and their offices, the report states.

Ismail Haniyeh, a senior leader of Hamas, discussed this relocation with both the Iranian and Iraqi governments, despite some opposition within the Iraqi parliament. The report also noted that the Iraqi government approved the move last month, and that Hamas security and logistical teams have already traveled to Baghdad to make necessary preparations.