Coronavirus: Hamas's overseas chief contracts Covid-19

Group says Maher Salah, who is hosted by Qatar, is 'working from home'

Maher Salah, prominent leader in the Hamas Palestinian Islamist movement and head of Hamas abroad, takes part in a protest along the Israel-Gaza border, in Jabalia, northern Gaza Strip, 03 August 2018. Photo by: Wissam Nassar/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
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A senior leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas who lives in Qatar has had coronavirus diagnosed, the group said.

Hamas said Maher Salah, the external head of the group, took a coronavirus test after coming into contact with a “number of people” infected with the virus.

“The test came positive,” the group said on Sunday. “Salah is working from home and his health is good”.

The group did not say where Mr Salah, known as Abu Aref, caught the virus.

Qatar has confirmed 109,000 cases of Covid-19, of whom 165 have died.

Hamas’s leadership consists of members living in Gaza, which the group has ruled since a Palestinian civil war with Fatah in 2007, and abroad, mostly in Qatar.

The authorities in Gaza say there have been no locally transmitted Covid-19 cases among the two million Palestinians living in the blockaded territory, although 75 infections and one death have occurred in quarantine centres.

Under orders from Hamas, arrivals in the coastal enclave spend 21 days in quarantine.