Meshaal returns to Gaza after 45 years
Gaza City, December 8, 2012
Policemen kissed him, crowds mobbed him and gunfire rattled out in celebration as 56-year-old Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made his first ever visit to the Gaza Strip.
Born in the nearby West Bank, Meshaal has lived in exile for most of his life. The target of a botched Israeli assassination plot in 1997, Meshaal felt safe enough to come to Gaza yesterday, following last month’s short, deadly conflict with the Jewish state.
Egypt underwrote the ceasefire, something that is likely to have reassured Meshaal that Israel would not try to kill him on such a visit.
He was given a hero’s welcome and policemen, lined up neatly to welcome him as he crossed the
Egyptian border, failed to maintain any semblance of discipline, breaking rank to surround the bearded Meshaal and seeking to hug and touch him.
Women and children stood and waved while crowds chanted their thanks to Hamas fighters. “With God’s will... reconciliation will be achieved. National unity is at hand,” Meshaal shouted through a microphone at the ruins of a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike last month that killed 12 civilians, including 4 children. – TradeArabia News Service