Qatar's emir first leader to visit Hamas-run Gaza

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2012 10:36 AM
Qatar's emir first leader to visit Hamas-run Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Egyptian security official says Qatar's ruler will visit the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is the first head of state to visit the Palestinian territory since Islamic militant group Hamas seized it in 2007. His visit is seen as a strong nod to Hamas and a sign that the Islamists are slowly emerging from international isolation.

The Egyptian security official and officials in Gaza said the Qatari ruler will be accompanied by some 50 people, including business leaders, intellectuals and security officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Qatar has not yet announced the exact date of the visit.

Last month, Qatar's ambassador to Gaza said the Gulf emirate would spend $254 million on major reconstruction projects in the coastal strip.