The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Hamas Cairo press conference cancelled

The press conference by Mohamed Nazzal, Hamas' representative in Lebanon, that had been scheduled today noon, was cancelled.

A reporter friend who went there in the morning told me there was "confusion, and the hotel people were acting funny." He asked several managers about the whereabouts of the conference, but did not get a clear reply. Finally they referred him to some security official present who told him it was cancelled. My friend called Nazal's assistant, who told him it was cancelled for "security reasons" without elaborating.

Rumours were circulating earlier that Nazzal was "banned" from giving the press conf and was returned to Lebanon on a plane, but it turned out to be untrue. Nazzal is still in Cairo.

UPDATE: Here is a dpa report by another friend, Jano Charbel:
Security forces cancel Hamas spokesman press conference in Cairo "for security reasons"

Cairo (dpa) – A Hamas spokesman's press conference, scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Cairo's Le Meridien Hotel was cancelled "for security reasons" reported journalists who went to attend the conference.
Officials from Egypt's ministry of interior refused to comment as to why the press conference was cancelled.
The Lebanon-based Hamas representative, Mohammad Nazal, was scheduled to give a press conference, at 1pm at the Meridien Hotel in the Heliopolis district of Cairo, on the subject of Hezbollah's recent military operations – including the capturing of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese Shiite resistance movement, which took place on Wednesday.
Rumors had circulated that the Hamas representative was prevented from entering the hotel and was put on a return flight to Lebanon. An aide to Nazal, denied these rumors and said that the press conference "was cancelled for security reasons" without providing any further details.

UPDATE: The conflicting reports continue. I received a phone call now from a journalist friend, saying actually Nazzal has left the country to Damascus in "unexplained circumstances."