UN envoy to Middle East denies allegations he offered to help transfer funds to Hamas

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JERUSALEM — The U.N. envoy to the Middle East peace process has denied allegations in the Israeli media that he offered to aid the Palestinian Hamas militant group.

Robert Serry said in a statement Sunday that he was asked by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to help transfer Qatari funds to pay the salaries of former Hamas employees who lost their jobs after the new Palestinian unity government was formed.

He said he was considering the request and had notified Israeli authorities. He insisted the U.N. would not provide such assistance without Israeli approval.

An Israeli official confirmed the allegations, reported by Channel 2, and said Israel was considering expelling the envoy. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

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