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Senior Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal with Tunisian Islamist Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi during the opening session of the 8th general conference of the Sudanese Islamic Movement, in Khartoum, yesterday.
KHARTOUM: At a conference that drew a roll-call of the Islamist leaders who have gained influence in the wake of Arab Spring revolts, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal won a noisy welcome and pledges of support yesterday.
A day after Israel assassinated Hamas’ top commander in the Gaza Strip in a new offensive, hundreds of delegates at the conference in Sudan burst into applause and cheers as Meshaal, dressed in a suit and open-necked shirt, entered Khartoum’s hangar-sized Friendship Hall.
“Khaybar, Khaybar,” the crowd chanted as Meshaal shook hands with other Islamist leaders, in a reference to a battle in Arabia where the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and his followers defeated Jewish defenders in the 7th century.
Among the delegates were the leaders of the Islamist parties in Egypt and Tunisia that have come to power through the ballot box in the wake of the Arab Spring, a regional shift towards the Islamists that has also helped embolden Hamas.
The head of the Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, told the conference in Khartoum: “The blood of our brothers who were martyred yesterday, just yesterday, in Palestine, in Gaza, this is what waters the tree of Islam.”
Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia’s ruling Ennahda party, said: “In truth, the mother of the revolutions was the blessed Palestinian revolution.”