After over two decades of exile in Damascus, senior Hamas politburo member Imad Al-Alami returned Sunday evening to the Gaza Strip. Al-Alami was welcomed by several Hamas leaders and citizens who were waiting for him at the Palestinian side of Rafah crossing along the border with Egypt.
Israel forced Al-Alami to leave the occupied Palestinian territories in 1991.
Addressing the media, Al-Alami said his joy is incomplete because more than six million Palestinian still live in exile.
Due to the bloody uprising and for security concerns Hamas' top leaders have been forced to leave the Syrian capital for Egypt, Jordan and Qatar.
Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Meshal left to Doha, and his deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk to Cairo. Three other politburo members left to Amman.
Meanwhile, rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed at a meeting in the Qatari capital on Sunday that presidential and legislative elections must be held "quickly," a top official was quoted as saying by AFP.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal met to explore the formation of an interim Palestinian government to oversee the preparations for the polls and discuss the implementation of a reconciliation deal. "We agreed on the importance of holding the elections quickly... and removing any obstacles that might delay the polls," said Fatah spokesperson Azzam al-Ahmad, who is accompanying Abbas in Doha.