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Dahlan preps for return to Gaza

Former Fatah senior official Mohammed Dahlan is venerated now in the Gaza Strip as the man who closed the deal with Egypt to renew electricity flow.
A Palestinian supporter of former head of Fatah in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, holds a poster depicting Dahlan during a protest against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza City December 18, 2014. Dahlan, who lives in exile in the Gulf, is a powerful political foe of Abbas. 
REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4IJ7B
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Samir al-Mashharawi, the right-hand man of Mohammed Dahlan, Fatah's former leader in the Gaza Strip, arrives in the coastal enclave next week. Dahlan’s supporters view Mashharawi’s arrival as the advent of his return to his roots within the framework of the new alliance forged between him and Hamas with Egypt’s mediation. Just a decade ago, Mashharawi, like Dahlan, was considered Hamas’ greatest enemy. During the 2007 uprising that brought Hamas to power, its armed wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades fired rockets toward Mashharawi’s house in Gaza’s Rimal neighborhood. As far as Mashharawi is concerned, the attempt to wipe him out was an act of ingratitude on the part of the man who was to become the movement’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

Years earlier, a wonderful friendship was forged between Mashharawi, who was a hardcore Fatah member, and Haniyeh. When Israel launched a campaign of targeted eliminations against the Hamas leadership and took out its heads — Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi — in 2004, Haniyeh found refuge in Mashharawi’s house. Haniyeh, at the time a personal aide to Rantisi, disguised himself as a woman and fled to Mashharawi’s house, evading the fearsome guns of the Israeli Apache helicopters.

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