Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal arrived in Jordan on Sunday accompanied by the Qatari heir-apparent Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The two were met at the Amman airport by an official Jordanian delegation headed by Crown Prince Hussein, King Abdullah II's son. Mashaal later met the King in his palace.
This is Mashaal's first official visit in Jordan as leader of the Hamas organization, which was banished from the Hashemite Kingdom in 1999. He escaped a Mossad assassination attempt in 1997. His recent trips to Jordan were under personal circumstances.
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Mashaal is slated to meet Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh as well as Intelligence Chief Faysal Shubaki. He is being accompanied by several Hamas leaders including Mousa Abu Marzook.
From Left: Mashaal, the Qatari heir apparent and King Abdullah (Photo: Reuters)
The visit's official goal is to "turn a new leaf in the relationship between Jordan and Hamas." However, it appears it will more likely set the ground for a discussion on reopening Hamas branches in Amman.
Sources close to Hamas said that Mashaal will refrain from asking this during the current visit and that if Jordan will eventually comply there will be no Hamas military activity in Jordan.
Various reports suggest that Mashaal's family has left Syria and moved to Amman together with families of other politburo officials. Jordan reportedly authorized the move on the condition there will be no Hamas political activity in the country.
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