Blair cancels Gaza visit


Tony Blair canceled a high-profile visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip over concerns for his safety.

The Quartet peace envoy was to have traveled to Gaza on Tuesday but pulled out on short notice, with a spokeswoman citing “specific threats against him.” Israeli sources said Defense Minister Ehud Barak advised Blair to stay away from the coastal territory as he could be targeted for attack.

Hamas was to have provided security for the visit by Blair, a former British prime minister, though he was not slated to meet any officials from the Palestinian Islamist group. The Quartet has conditioned contacts with Hamas on it first recognizing Israel and renouncing terrorism.

Still, the Blair visit might have helped Hamas’s international image, as Western dignitaries have largely avoided Gaza since it was violently taken over by the Islamists a year ago.

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