Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gave a speech to thousands to Hamas supporters Saturday, vowing to destroy the state of Israel and build a Palestinian state in its place.
Meshaal gave the speech on Hamas' 25th anniversary. His words reflected Hamas' long-standing position towards Israel, according to the New York Times.
For Meshaal, the visit was his first the Gaza Strip. His family fled his West Bank village when he was 11, and he currently lives in Qatar, according to an AP report in the Los Angeles Times.
Israel attempted to assassinate Meshaal in 1997, according to the New York Times.
The recent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas emboldened Meshaal to make the visit. As part of the cease fire, Israel vowed to stop targeting Hamas millitants
Meshaal insisted that Hamas won a great military victory over Israel.