Why was a Hamas delegation in Mauritania?
"Hamas on Monday met with Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz," according to a report at Anadolu. The delegation was led by Osama Hamdan and Sami Abu Zuhri. Hamdan is a key Hamas representative in Lebanon while Abu Zuhri is a spokesperson. In November 2017 he gave a speech in Istanbul saying that theorganization would never recognize Israel. They issued a statement to the press about "the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, especially in light of the so-called ‘deal of the century,’ which is aimed at damaging the Palestinian cause." They discussed "the situation of the Gaza Strip under the siege still imposed by the Zionist entity,” the report says. The Hamas members also took part in a rally to support their claims to Jerusalem.
Mauritania once had relations with Israel and an Israeli ambassador, expelled in 2009. At the time Qatar held a meeting with Syria, Iran, Mauritania and Hamas' exiled leadership. Yet Mauritania was one of the countries that expelled Qatari diplomats during the Gulf crises in 2017. A Hamas delegation visited in December 2017. Tensions have increased between Mauritania and Iran after Iran sought influence in the country.
The recent delegation comes as Hamas is increasingly isolated in Gaza and the US is ramping up pressure on Hamas' role in Gaza. It also comes amid rising tensions with Israel after months of protests and clashes.