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Hamas chief Mashaal concludes visit to Gaza

Dec. 10, 2012 5:26 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 11, 2012 2:20 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal left the Gaza Strip for Egypt on Monday after an historic four-day visit to the coastal territory.

The Hamas leader concluded his first ever visit to Gaza by visiting a family in Rafah who had lost several relatives in recent violence with Israel.

Mashaal, and several other prominent Hamas figures, addressed hundreds of thousands of supporters in Gaza City on Saturday as part of 25th anniversary celebrations for the Islamist movement.

The Hamas leader's entry to the Gaza Strip on Friday after decades in exile, during which he survived an Israeli assassination attempt, raised the celebratory atmosphere at the event.

The rally was also billed as a victory parade after Gaza militants were seen locally to have fended off an Israeli invasion during an eight-day bombardment last month.

The Hamas chief praised Palestinian resistance during his visit and stressed the importance of reconciliation with Fatah and holding democratic elections.

Hamas politburo members Mousa Abu Marzouq, Izzat al-Rishq, and Saleh al-Arouri had accompanied Mashaal to Gaza.
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