The Iraqi government approved the move last month, while Iran will allegedly assume responsibility for protecting Hamas’s leaders, offices, and personnel in Baghdad, the report said.

HAMAS GAZA leader Yahya Sinwar (left) speaks with leader Ismail Haniyeh (center) at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, in 2017. Is it possible for Israel to lay its hands on Sinwar?

The Hamas leadership is considering relocating from Qatar, where it is currently residing, to Iraq, according to a report in The National in Monday. 

The Iraqi government approved the move last month, a senior Iraqi MP disclosed in the report. Iran will allegedly assume responsibility for protecting Hamas’s leaders, offices, and personnel in Baghdad. However, according to a Ynet report, Hamas dismissed these claims, stating, “There is no truth in the reports suggesting Hamas is planning to leave Qatar and move to Iraq.”

This arrangement follows discussions between Hamas’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and representatives from the Iraqi and Iranian governments. These talks were confirmed to The National by a senior Iraqi MP and a leader of a political party closely allied with an Iran-backed armed group.

“There is no consensus among Iraqi political groups on Hamas’s move to Baghdad,” the senior Iraqi MP told The National. “Some, especially the Kurds and some Sunnis, fear it will deepen differences with the United States. But despite the lack of consensus, the government’s decision to host Hamas will not be reversed.” Baghdad has expressed its willingness to allow Hamas to maintain a high-profile presence in Iraq.

Although a date for the move has not been set, Hamas recently opened a political office in Baghdad, led by senior official Mohammed Al Hafy, with plans for a media office to follow in the coming weeks, the report stated. The Iraqi government has not commented on these developments.

Ismail Haniyeh, top leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, meets a person offering condolences after the killing of three of his sons in an Israeli strike in Gaza City, in Doha, Qatar April 11, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

The potential relocation comes amid stalled Gaza ceasefire negotiations mediated by the US, Egypt, and Qatar. Senior US officials have blamed Hamas for the lack of progress, following President Joe Biden’s ceasefire proposal aimed at ending the conflict.

Weeks of deadlock and pressure

Hamas’s decision to relocate to Iraq follows weeks of pressure from Qatar to accept US ceasefire proposals, which include an exchange of hostages and Palestinian detainees with Israel, the report claims.

Hamas officials have faced threats of expulsion from Qatar and punitive measures, including asset freezes, if they do not show negotiation flexibility. These warnings were conveyed during a meeting in Doha with Qatari and Egyptian mediators, following a visit by CIA Director William Burns, Washington’s chief ceasefire mediator.

The US, Egypt, and Qatar have been striving for months to broker a lasting ceasefire in Gaza. The conflict reignited after Hamas’s attack on southern Israel on October 7, which killed approximately 1,200 people.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post