Image 1 of 1

ASH_00 (8).jpg

Palestinian members of the al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, standing guard as they wait for the arrival of Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Gaza city December 7, 2012. Hamas's exiled leader Meshaal will step onto Palestinian land for the first time in 45 years on Friday for a "victory rally" in the Gaza Strip, displaying his newfound confidence after last month's conflict with Israel. Meshaal, the Islamist group's leader, who has not visited the Palestinian Territories since leaving the West Bank at age 11, emerged emboldened from the eight-day conflict which ended in a truce he negotiated under Egypt's auspices. He has since spoken of reaching out to other Palestinian factions. Photo by Ashraf Amra