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MIDEAST > Hamas chief Meshaal hopes to be 'martyr in Gaza'

GAZA - Reuters

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Hamas Leader Khaled Meshaal AFP photo

Hamas Leader Khaled Meshaal AFP photo

Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal crossed into the Gaza Strip on Friday on his first-ever visit, kissing the ground and hoping he would one day die a "martyr" in the Palestinian territory.
 
Accompanied by his deputy, Mussa Abu Marzuk, and other senior officials, Meshaal drove through the crossing and then got out and kissed the ground before embracing Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya.
 
His visit comes just two weeks after the end of a fierce conflict with Israel, which began on November 14 with an Israeli air strike in Gaza City that killed top Hamas militant Ahmed Jaabari.
 Shortly after his arrival, Meshaal was taken to see the charred remains of Jaabari's car, which had been transported to Rafah especially for the visit.
 
"I hope God will make me a martyr on the land of Palestine in Gaza," he said on seeing it.
 
Izzat al-Rishq, another senior member of the Islamist movement's exiled politbureau, said it was a moving experience to finally be in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
 
"This is the greatest feeling I've ever had. It is an unforgettable historic moment," he told AFP. "Our wish to kiss the soil of Palestine has come true." Senior Hamas official Mahmud al-Zahar hailed the visit and said it was replete with symbolism.
 
"No matter how long a Palestinian is away from his homeland, he will always return after a victory," he told AFP.
 
Streets across the territory were decked with green Hamas flags to mark the visit, along with the red flags of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which on December 11 marks its 45th anniversary.
 
Masked Hamas militants from its Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing were out en masse, wearing fatigues and carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, as they patrolled the roads along which the official convoy was set to travel.

December/07/2012

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READER COMMENTS

david ellison

12/8/2012 10:13:17 PM

One can only hope that his wish should come true. However, he should be alone and not hiding in some family home. Better yet, as he degrades Abbas and the authority and brings Hamas to the West Bank, he hands Netanyahu's dream of the removal of the West Bank Arabs to Gaza. Those boys are working together well...

mara mcglothin

12/8/2012 4:50:28 PM

What a completely idiotic thing to say.

cloud chaser

12/8/2012 11:12:37 AM

The man is so popular, he is the second coming - why does he need all these masked guards all over the place? a small bodyguard contingent should have sufficed, no? This stinks of fear from a massive populace uprising against him... At least that's the message such massive deployments of armed masked man along the routs send.

Truth Teller

12/8/2012 7:54:21 AM

Dear Jack DeRipper. Iseael may make his wish come true and than the Turkish PM will blame Israel that she carry out his wish.

Adrian Green

12/7/2012 8:53:56 PM

Hard for his wish to come true as he is only in the place for 48 hours! Some leader...real leaders lead from the front and don't drive their flock into danger from behind.

aysar odeh

12/7/2012 7:17:37 PM

Only MEN are willing to die for JUSTICE

maria parada

12/7/2012 6:41:19 PM

Lets hope he gets his wish.

rich bind

12/7/2012 5:40:50 PM

Hope he gets his wish, LOL!

Jack DeRipper

12/7/2012 5:39:30 PM

Sooner or later Israel will make his wish come true.

ebby m

12/7/2012 5:20:58 PM

Yes, Hamas may drag his body behind a motorcycle and show it on youtube.
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