The Palestinian militant group Hamas says former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will meet with two of its leaders in Egypt, after Israel denied his request to enter the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Hamas says a delegation, including Mahmoud al-Zahar and Saeed Seyam will hold talks with the former president in Cairo as early as Wednesday.

The Hamas delegation has already arrived in Egypt, where it is also expected to meet with Egyptian officials.

Mr. Carter's team refused to comment on the reported meeting. But the former president has said he will meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus, Syria, later this week.

On Tuesday, Mr. Carter met in Ramallah with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and a leading Hamas figure in the West Bank, Nasser Shaer.

U.S. and Israeli officials have criticized Mr. Carter for meeting with representatives of Hamas, which the two countries' consider a terrorist group.

Mr. Carter says his tour of the region is aimed at advancing Middle East peace efforts.

The former president said Tuesday he would use his meeting this week in Syria with Meshaal to try to get him to agree to a peaceful resolution of differences with Israel and Palestinian faction Fatah, a rival of Hamas.

Mr. Carter mediated the 1978 Camp David Accords that paved the way for peace between Israel and Egypt. But he has increasingly taken positions critical of Israel in recent years. In a 2006 book, he described Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories as a "system of apartheid."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.