Hamas leader pledges unity with Fatah
Khaled Meshaal waves as he leaves the Gaza Strip on Monday (AFP PHOTO / HO / ISMAIL HANIYA'S OFFICE)
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Exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, ended his first-ever trip to Gaza on Monday with a pledge to heal political rifts with rival movement, Fatah, Reuters reported.
The leader of the Islamist party arrived in the Palestinian territory on Friday for a three day tour, marking the group’s 25th anniversary.
Before leaving Gaza on Monday, Meshaal said: "From Gaza I have stressed the need for reconciliation, and I do so again. Gaza and the West Bank are two dear parts of the greater Palestinian homeland, and they need each other."
In 2007 Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip after a brief civil war with the rival group, which still controls the Occupied West Bank.
The two factions remain divided over Palestinian President and leader of the Fatah movement, Mahmoud Abbas' peacemaking efforts with Israel, which Hamas opposes.
In the past, efforts have been made to heal the rifts and last month, in a telephone conversation, the two leaders said they would forge ahead with a stalled unity deal.
On Monday Meshaal reiterated this push for unity. "I entered Gaza carrying a great love for it and I exit with a greater love in my heart," he said.