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Islamist group calls on Iranian president to visit Strip after his October tour of Lebanon, however estimates say visit unlikely to take place.
November 09, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Hamas has invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad to visit the Gaza Strip on Monday. Ahmed Youssef, deputy Hamas foreign minister told Iranian news agency Fars that a visit from the Iranian president would lift the spirits of “the resistance front” as it did with Hezbollah in Lebanon last month.
“We are certain his visit would be very significant,” Youssef said in an interview with the news agency. Iran has yet to provide an official response to the invitation, however such a visit is unlikely to take place as Iranian officials do not usually visit the Gaza Strip, despite politically supporting Hamas.
Hamas sources confirmed that Ahmadinejad had been invited to Gaza as part of Palestinian efforts to break the blockade. They told Ynet that the Iranian president had a positive response to the invitation. Nevertheless, Gaza elements estimated the visit is not likely to occur in the near future.
Last month, Ahmadinejad held his first visit to Lebanon, during which he met with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. Tens of thousands of Lebanese rallied in his honor across the country including in Bint Jbeil and Kafr Kana.
Ahmadinejad’s visit was meant to send a message of support to Hezbollah and assist the Shiite group in its internal conflict ahead of an international report on the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. (*)