Hamas leader pays first visit to Gaza strip
Fri Dec 7, 2012 9:35PM
In his first-ever visit, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal arrived in the blockaded Gaza Strip on Friday. He is there to commemorate the Palestinians’ victory over Israeli forces in the Eight Day War.Hamas political bureau leader, Khaled Mashal along with a number of high ranking Hamas official have arrived in the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Friday.He left the West Bank as a child and now leads Hamas from Qatar. It was Mashal’s first visit to the Gaza Strip. He was born in the West Bank town of Selwaad in 1956 and the last time he was there was in 1975. During a press conference at the Rafah crossing Mashal said that he wants the liberation of all the historic land of Palestine including Haifa and Jaffa. Upon reaching Gaza city Mashal visited the house of the late founder of Hamas movement Ahmad Yasin who was assassinated by Israeli forces in 2004. He later paid condolences to the family of the late leader of Hamas’s military wing Ahmad al-Jaabari whose assassination by Israeli forces in Mid November sparked the eight day Israeli war on Gaza. The top ranking Hamas political leaders are slated to stay in the Gaza Strip for a number of days to take part in the eight day war victory rally and Hamas’s 25th anniversary celebrations. Hamas’s popularity has been on the rise despite Israeli and western attempts to destabilize it by a suffocating siege and continued aggressions. Khaled Mashal’s historic visit to the Gaza Strip is seen by many here as a direct result of the victory of Palestinian resistance over Israeli forces during the eight day war.