GAZA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip beefed up security measures Thursday in preparation for receiving the head of Hamas' politburo, Khaled Mashaal, for his first-ever visit to the coastal enclave.
Mashaal is supposed to cross into Gaza from Egypt Friday to participate in celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Hamas movement's establishment.
The interior ministry of the de facto Hamas government in Gaza carried out drills in al-Katiba square, where Hamas will hold a festival on Saturday. Police, bomb squads, VIP protection unit and the civil defense took part in the drills, with live ammunition used.
Also in the square, workers were putting the final touches of the festival's stage, with a mock Fajr 5 rocket, which Hamas fired several times into the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during last month's fighting with Israel.
Hamas wrested the control of Gaza by force in 2007 from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
Mashaal will stay in Gaza for three days and will hold discussions with his Gaza-based Hamas colleagues to choose a successor for him, as he has announced several times that he wants to step down as the head of the Hamas politburo.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Mashaal's visit is "a fruit of the victory," referring to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which ended eight days of Israeli air blitz on Gaza.
The Israeli attacks killed more than 170 Palestinians, while the Hamas-fired rockets killed six Israelis.
GAZA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Hamas, the militant movement that rules the Gaza Strip, has gained political momentum among the Palestinians after an eight-day conflict with Israel. With a refreshed political strategy, Hamas now sees an opportunity to uplift its status on the political stage, and even better, to shake off its "terrorist" label in future.
Strongly opposing the interim peace accords signed between Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in 1994, Islamic Hamas movement has launched a series of suicide bombing attacks against Israel, leaving hundreds of Israelis killed or wounded. Hamas, as a result, is listed by the United States, Europe and Israel as "terrorist" organization. Full story