Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal arrived in the Gaza Strip Friday, his first-ever visit to the salient after years in exile, dpa reported.
Mashaal kissed the ground after entering Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
He was welcomed by Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya and leaders of other Palestinian militant groups. Representatives of the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who governs the West Bank, were also present.
Mashaal's visit to mark the 25th anniversary of Hamas, comes after a ceasefire last month that ended an eight-day conflict between the militant group ruling Gaza and Israel.