Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal arrived in Cairo on Thursday ahead of his first visit to the Gaza Strip, as a delegation of relatives went ahead of him to Gaza.
Mashaal will travel to Gaza on Friday with two other senior leaders in the movement based in exile, Izzat al-Rishq and Mousa Abu Marzouq.
They will participate in Hamas’ 25th anniversary celebrations in the coastal strip, starting on Saturday.
Mashaal’s wife Amal al-Burini and a group of his relatives arrived in Gaza on Thursday through the Rafah crossing from Egypt.
Born in Silwad near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Mashaal has lived in exile for 45 of his 56 years.
In 1997, Mashaal survived an assassination attempt ordered by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s during a prior term in power.
Mossad agents injected his with poison on the streets of Jordan, but were caught and Netanyahu was forced to hand over the antidote.