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A strengthened Hamas in Gaza is just the latest victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic resistance movement that is tightening its grip on the region. When Israel attacked Hamas two weeks ago in retaliation for the frequent firing of rockets on southern Israeli communities many of the region's Islamic powers, including Egypt, Qatar and Turkey, took the unprecedented step of demonstrating their solidarity with the Hamas government by sending a parade of cabinet ministers and other officials to the Palestinian territory even as it was under fire. The involvement of so many such states – all ruled by or aligned with the Brotherhood helped bring about a ceasefire and contributed to what appears will be a lifting of Israel's blockade on Gaza. They are also seeking to exert influence over Hamas, also a Brotherhood offshoot, to ensure it doesn't go rogue or align itself more with Iran. While Hamas controls a small territory of about 370 square kilometres and a population of about 1.7 million, it is punching well beyond its weight. Powers in the region have a lot riding on how well, or poorly, it and the Muslim Brotherhood in general do.

Interactive by CHRISTOPHER MANZA, TONIA COWAN and MICHAEL SNIDER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL
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