Last updated: 29 September, 2011

Jordan lets Hamas chief visit ill mother

Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal arrived in Jordan on Thursday for the second time since 1999 to visit his ailing mother, the information minister said.

“The interior minister (Mazen Saket) gave Khaled Meshaal special permission to come to Jordan for a limited time to visit his mother who is in hospital,” Abdullah Abu Rumman he told AFP without elaborating.

Meshaal, who is based in the Syrian capital, came to Amman in 2009 to attend the funeral of his father Abdel Rahim Meshaal.

Relations between Hamas and Jordan have remained strained since 1999, when the authorities expelled Meshaal along with three other members of the Palestinian Islamist movement.

Hamas was accused at the time of threatening the security and stability of Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Ties soured further in 2006 after Amman alleged that members of the group smuggled arms into the kingdom from neighbouring Syria.

Meshaal escaped a 1997 assassination attempt in Amman by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad.