GAZA CITY, Palestine
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will arrive in the Gaza Strip on Thursday to meet with officials from Palestinian faction Hamas, a security source said Sunday.
"Carter will arrive in Gaza on Thursday through the [Israeli-controlled] Erez border crossing to meet with leading Hamas officials," a Palestinian security source, requesting anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency.
Maher Abu Sabha, head of the Palestinian border authority, for his part, told AA that the head of Carter's office will arrive in Gaza within hours accompanied by a security delegation via the Erez crossing to prepare for Carter's imminent visit.
Israeli news outlet Ynet had said that Carter would be arriving on April 30 on a three-day visit to Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
"Israel has officially decided to boycott Carter's visit, but it won't bar him from entering Israel or from crossing to Gaza," the report said.
A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Carter visited the Gaza Strip in 2009 and held several meetings with leading Hamas figures, including the group's deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh.
More than 2,160 Gazans, mostly civilians, were killed – and another 11,000 injured – during seven weeks of unrelenting Israeli bombardments in July and August of last year.
The offensive, launched with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, also left 73 Israelis dead, mostly soldiers.
The offensive finally ended on August 26 of last year with the announcement of an indefinite cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions.