U.S. Markets close in 6 hrs 1 min

Hamas: Iran trip 'rejection' of Israeli reconciliation conditions

Saleh al-Aruri of Hamas (L) and Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmad (R) kiss after signing a reconciliation deal in Cairo on October 12, 2017 (AFP Photo/KHALED DESOUKI)

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinian movement Hamas said on Sunday that a visit by its delegation to Iran was a "rejection" of the Israeli conditions on reconciliation with rival faction Fatah.

The two largest Palestinian groups have agreed a deal that is supposed to see Islamists Hamas hand over control of the Gaza Strip to the Fatah-dominated West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

Israel has said it will reject any deal in which Hamas does not disarm and cut its ties with Iran, the Jewish state's longtime foe.

Despite this, a delegation of senior Hamas leaders arrived in Iran on Friday for meetings with government officials.

In a statement Hamas's deputy leader Saleh al-Aruri, who led the delegation, said "the visit to Tehran is a rejection of the Zionist entity's conditions to cut ties with (Iran)".

The statement reiterated that Hamas would not be forced to give up its armed wing.

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

The movement's Gaza chief recently said relations with Iran have improved once again with Tehran becoming their largest backer, after several years of more strained relations.

US President Donald Trump is trying to encourage the Palestinians and Israelis to restart long-frozen peace negotiations.

Hamas seized Gaza after forcing out Fatah in a near civil war in 2007.