Gaza City, Palestinian Territories (ANTARA News/AFP) - A senior leader of the Syria-based leadership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine arrived on Sunday for his first trip to the Gaza Strip, the group said.

Sources in the militant movement named him as Maher al-Taher, a member of the PFLP`s Damascus-based politburo.

"A member of the political bureau of the PFLP who is based in Syria arrived in the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on his first visit to Gaza," one source said.

Other sources confirmed the official was Taher, while denying he was permanently relocating from his base in Syria, which has been roiled by a violent crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators.

Much of the Damascus-based membership of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip has reportedly abandoned Syria because of the unrest.

In a surprise move, a top Hamas official on Friday appeared to back the anti-regime protests.

Ismail Haniya, who heads the Hamas government in Gaza, offered his support to "the heroic Syrian people, who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform," he told thousands of cheering people at a Cairo mosque. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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