Gaza City: Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal plans to visit Gaza for the first time, possibly accompanied by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, a Hamas official said on Tuesday.

Meshaal "intends to come to Gaza and has a great desire to carry out such a visit, which could surprise us by happening very soon," said Ahmed Yussef, a counsellor to the Hamas ministry of foreign affairs in the Gaza Strip.
   
The trip would be a historic first for Meshaal who was born in the West Bank but went into exile after the 1967 Six Day War.
   
It would come as his Hamas movement attempts to implement a reconciliation deal with rival Palestinian movement Fatah, and Yussef said the trip could help the process.

Meshaal "may be accompanied to Gaza by President Mahmud Abbas in order to give a big boost to the reconciliation and restore the public's confidence in the process," he said.

Yussef, who met with Meshaal in Cairo last week, stressed the visit would require coordination "with a number of parties, including, especially our Egyptian brothers."

(Agencies)