Thousands gather for Hamas rally
Khaled Meshaal on first-ever Gaza visit (Photo: Marco Longari / AFP)
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Tens of thousands of people are gathering for a rally in the Gaza strip to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, and the start of the first Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, against Israel in December 1987.
At least 200,000 Palestinians are expected to attend Saturday’s rally, which will see exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, address the crowd in his first ever visit to the territory.
Meshaal received a hero’s welcome when he arrived in Gaza on Friday. Palestinians cheered and waved flags for the political leader, moving him to tears.
Meshaal is expected to unveil a future strategy for Hamas and talk of reconciliation with rival group, Fatah.
According to Al Jazeera, Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, has revealed: "Meshaal's speech will outline the priorities of the Hamas movement in the coming future, and especially the implementation of reconciliation (with Fatah)."
The recent conflict with Israel will feature heavily in Saturday’s rally. A model M75 missile has been erected on the open-air stage to recall the rockets that were fired last month towards Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Local Fatah leaders are also due to attend the event.