http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7843465.stm Hamas leader hails 'Gaza victory' The political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, says that his organisation won the recent war in the Gaza Strip. Mr Meshaal, who is exiled in the Syrian capital Damacus, said Hamas's "victory" was a turning point in its battle against Israel. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, declared a ceasefire after Israel called off its three-week offensive. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak also declared victory, as Israeli forces completed their withdrawal. "We won in a big way," Mr Barak told Israeli Channel 2 on Wednesday. "Hamas was dealt a blow it never imagined and will be quiet now for a long time." "Turning point" Hamas has already held victory marches across Gaza, saying it had stopped Israel achieving its aims. "The Gaza Strip has scored a victory. The enemy has failed and the resistance, together with our people and nation, has scored victory," Meshaal said in a speech broadcast on Arab satellite TV. He added that Hamas had withstood Israel's attacks, despite its military superiority. "This is the first war we have won, the first real and large-scale war. That is why the battle in Gaza is a real turning point in the struggle against the Zionist enemy," he said. "But we still have two important battles ahead of us. The battle to break the siege and the battle to reopen the border crossings, particularly the Rafah crossing." Israel has blockaded the Palestinian enclave since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. It has refused to fully open border crossings to allow desperately needed aid, goods and construction materials into Gaza. Mr Meshaal also said the "liberation of Palestine" was no longer "just a dream". "It is now a reality we can see, we are close to realising it, with God's grace," he said. There was no reaction to the speech from Israel. Its military chiefs have warned that Israel will respond swiftly to any "provocation" from Hamas.