The Straits Times
Published on Dec 08, 2012

Palestinians gather in Gaza for rally marking Hamas 25th anniversary


GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - More than 100,000 Palestinians gathered in Gaza on Saturday for a rally marking the 25th anniversary of Hamas to be addressed by the ruling Islamist movement's leader in exile.

Politburo chief Khaled Meshaal crossed from Egypt on Friday on his first ever visit to Gaza and his first to the Palestinian territories since 1975. His speech was set to be the headline event of the rally.

Mr Meshaal arrived at the main stage in the Al-Qitaba complex west of Gaza City which was transformed into a sea of green Hamas flags. He was accompanied by his deputy Mussa Abu Marzuk and Gaza's Hamas premier Ismail Haniya.

The celebrations come just over two weeks after an Egyptian-brokered truce ended eight days of bloodshed with Israel which left 174 Palestinians dead.