Hamas leader also issues denial

Reports of Hamas bureau relocation to Baghdad ‘baseless’, says Iraqi source

NEWSROOM — Reports of Hamas considering relocating its political bureau from Doha, Qatar, to Baghdad, Iraq, have been met with strong denials from both the Iraqi government and a senior Hamas official.

The rumors, initially reported by the United Arab Emirates-based news site The National, which cited anonymous sources, suggested that increasing U.S. and Qatari pressure on Hamas leaders to be more flexible in ceasefire negotiations with Israel was driving the potential move.

Tensions escalated sharply following a series of attacks on Oct. 7, where Hamas launched a surprise assault on Israeli territory, leading to significant casualties. Israel’s subsequent military response has led to a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with thousands of civilians killed, prompting international calls for a ceasefire.

“Hamas officials were told they could face expulsion from Qatar and punitive measures, including the freezing of assets outside Gaza, if the group did not show flexibility in negotiations,” sources told The National. It reported that senior Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh held a telephone conversation with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.

According to a source cited by The National, the Iraqi government has “has welcomed the idea of Hamas maintaining a high-profile presence in Iraq.”

However, a source close to the Iraqi government told 964media that these reports are “baseless,” emphasizing that, “We have not received any request to that effect.”

Similarly, Izzat Al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, refuted the allegations, stating, “These allegations about Hamas relocating from Qatar to Iraq are completely unfounded.”

It also reported that there are plans to open a media office in the ‘coming weeks’.

According to the original report, pressures have escalated with Qatar reportedly threatening Hamas with expulsion and asset freezes unless it showed more willingness to engage in U.S.-led peace efforts.

Addressing the media, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller did not verify the relocation reports but highlighted the U.S. stance following recent conflicts, “I saw the reports, and I don’t want to speak to their validity. But we have made clear to every government in the region that there should be no more business as usual with Hamas after the horrific attacks of October 7th. And that applies to everyone.”