By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer
DAMASCUS, Syria – Former President Carter met Friday with the exiled leader ofand the militant group’s deputy chief, men the U.S. government has labeled as global terrorists and accuses of masterminding and kidnappings.
Carter’s meeting with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal followed two other meetings between the former American president and the Palestinian militant group in thethis week. Hamas officials say the meetings have lent their group legitimacy.
Mashaal’s deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk attended the meeting with Carter at Mashaal’soffice, a Hamas official at the site told The Associated Press. Abu Marzouk was designated a terrorist by the U.S. in 1995, allowing the government to seize his assets. He was detained at in that same year and spent two years in a New York jail before he was deported in 1997.
Carter’s convoy arrived at Mashaal’s office for the meeting under tight security and reporters were prevented from getting near the site. The meeting was closed to all media.
The U.S. State Department twice advised Carter against meeting Hamas….