x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Malaysian PM tours sites bombed by Israel on first tour of Gaza

Najib Razak meets with Hamas politicians, tours sites bombed by Israeli forces and visits school funded by his nation.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip // The Malaysian prime minister visited the Gaza Strip today in a political boost for the territory's once internationally isolated rulers from Hamas.

During his first-ever visit to the territory, Najib Razak was meeting with Hamas politicians, touring sites bombed by Israeli forces and visiting a school funded by his majority-Muslim nation in Southeast Asia.

The west has branded Hamas, which seized Gaza in 2007, as a terror organisation. The Arab Spring uprisings that brought Islamists to power in parts of the region also enabled Hamas to break out of its isolation.

In October, the leader of resource-rich Qatar became the first head of state to visit Gaza. Hamas has also forged closer ties in the past two years with regional powerhouses Egypt and Turkey.