Khaled Mashaal, the political leader of Hamas, will reportedly arrive in Gaza from Cairo next month to attend celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the terror group’s establishment, according to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.
Hamas sources expressed concern that such a visit would endanger Mashaal’s safety, claiming that Israel is like a “wounded tiger” searching for any victory to maintain its dignity.
Mashaal recently moved to Cairo from Damascus after the organization fell out with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. He was the main Hamas negotiator in the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks that halted Operation Pillar of Defense.
At this point, it is unclear whether Mashaal intends to retire from his position ahead of the upcoming Hamas elections. In late September, Mashaal announced that he would step down, but earlier this month, a senior Palestinian source told the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat that Mashaal was reconsidering that decision.
Mashaal has been a leader of Hamas since 1996, and served as its main figurehead since the assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, one of the movement’s co-founders. He survived a failed assassination attempt by Israel in 1997 when he was based in Amman, Jordan.
Michal Shmulovich contributed to this report.