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Hamas readies for 25th anniversary celebrations

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Hamas readies for 25th anniversary celebrations
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Soldiers from the military wing of Palestinian militant group Hamas stand guard in Gaza as final preparations are made to celebrate the organisation’s 25th anniversary.

A mass rally will be held later, attended by exiled leader Khaled Meshaal who has arrived back in the territory to a hero’s welcome.

One man who came out see Meshaal hoped his visit would repair fractured ties between Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip and Fatah which runs the West Bank.

Another thought Meshaal’s return would be “a symbol for hope for other Palestinian refugees who have been displaced since 1948”.

Meshaal left the Palestinian territories with his family aged 11. Until yesterday, he had not been back in nearly five decades.

For most of the last eight years, the 56-year-old has been running Hamas from Syria.

The group was formed during the first Intifada – or uprising – in 1987 and is classed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU.