Qatar emir on landmark visit to Gaza

  • Qatar's emir has become the first head of state to visit the Gaza Strip since Hamas came to power in 2007.

    Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani arrived in Gaza by car from Egypt and was greeted by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.

    He pledged $400 million on Tuesday to build infrastructure in the strip, which has been devastated by a long conflict with Israel.

    Qatar has become one of Hamas' main benefactors following a fallout with Syria and a cooling of ties with Iran.

    The Palestinian Authority had earlier voiced concern over the emir's visit.

    The emir had been due to address a major rally at Gaza’s City Stadium though only a few hundred people had gathered at the 40,000-seat venue.

    The event was canceled due to what organizers described as "emergency circumstances".

    Earlier in the day, the Israeli military said a soldier had been injured in a bomb explosion near Kissufim, along Israel's border with Gaza.