Tens of thousands of people turned out for a mass rally in the Gaza Strip on Friday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hamas, which governs Gaza. The guest of honor was the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.
This is Meshaal's first-ever trip to Gaza, and it's been seen as a political milestone in Hamas' attempt to gain wider acceptance in the region.
Gaza is a small, very crowded strip of land that is full of young people. Roughly 1.7 million people live here, and about half are under the age of 18.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:14 am
The exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal shakes hands with supporters upon his arrival at Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip.
Credit Suhaib Salem / AP
For the first time since his exile in 1967, the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, returned to the Gaza Strip today. He arrived through the border with Egypt, kissing the ground in celebration and as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, Meshal received a hero's welcome as well as military one.
For more on the changing dynamic in that region, we're joined live in the studio by P.J. Crowley. He served as assistant secretary of state for public affairs in the Obama administration between 2009 and 2011. He also served on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration. P.J., thanks for coming in this morning.