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The U.S. last week held a clandestine meeting in Egypt with Ghazi Hamad, the deputy foreign minister of Hamas, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The officials would not say whether the meeting was with a current member of the U.S. government or a former diplomat acting as a proxy for the Obama administration.

Messages were exchanged about Hamas’s intentions as part of a newly formed Palestinian unity government with the rival Fatah party, led by Mahmoud Abbas, the officials said.

Last week, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper quoted an unnamed White House official stating the Obama administration is leaning toward cooperating with the Hamas-Fatah Palestinian unity government, even if Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and despite objections from the Israeli government.

Previously the Middle East Quartet, made up of the U.S., Russia, European Union and United Nations, declared it would not deal with Hamas unless the terrorist group renounces violence and recognizes Israel.

The Haaretz article did not mention any U.S.-Hamas meeting.

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