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Hamas Leader to Tour Muslim Countries, in First Trip Abroad Since 2007

Ismail Haniyeh has been confined to Gaza since Hamas seized power there; Haniyeh to visit Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia and Turkey.

A deputy says Gaza's prime minister is leaving on his first official trip outside the territory since the militant Hamas movement overran the coastal strip in June 2007.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's deputy, Mohammed Awwad, said on Sunday the Gaza leader will visit Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia and Turkey - all countries that have been affected by the upheavals sweeping the Arab world.

Ismail Haniyeh - AP - Sept. 28, 2010

Awwad says Haniyeh's objective is to discuss development projects. He didn't say how long the trip would last.

Haniyeh has been confined to Gaza, in part because of tensions with Egypt.

But Egypt's new rulers have warmed up to Hamas since longtime President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February.