Qatari Leader Visits Gaza Strip

Posted October 23rd, 2012 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
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Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has entered the Gaza Strip for the first visit to the Palestinian territory by a head of state since Islamist Hamas militants took control in 2007.

He crossed into Gaza from Egypt on Tuesday, receiving a red-carpet welcome from Hamas officials.

The Qatari leader is inaugurating more than $250 million in aid for reconstruction projects in the Gaza Strip.

The area has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

The emir has played a role in attempts to reconcile Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank. He hosted talks earlier this year between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, but those efforts have not produced a lasting agreement.