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Hamas leader, Saudi king shake hands after Muslim prayers

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hamas says its leader shook hands with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman after Muslim holiday prayers, signaling an easing of tensions over the Palestinian group’s ties with Saudi regional rival Iran.

There was no official announcement in Saudi state media of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

The visit came days after Iran reached a nuclear deal with Western powers, prompting concern among its regional rivals.

A Hamas website said Friday that Mashaal and the Saudi king attended prayers in the holy city of Mecca and that the two shook hands. Hamas says Mashaal met the Saudi intelligence chief Thursday.

Saudi-Hamas ties had been strained since the collapse of a Saudi-brokered reconciliation agreement between Hamas and its political rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, a decade ago.

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