Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin has arrived in the Gaza Strip in the first ever visit to the Hamas-ruled enclave by a top Western government official.
No American or European leader or senior figure has visited since Gaza was taken over by Hamas in June, 2007.
The EU and the U.S. declared a boycott of Hamas at the time because of its refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
Escorted by United Nations vehicles, Martin entered through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Israel had turned down his request last year to enter Gaza. He does not intend to met with Hamas
Martin's visit to comes after widespread anger in Ireland over the use of Irish passports by an alleged Israeli hit squad that killed a Hamas militant in Dubai recently.
As many as ten legitimate Irish passports may have been used in the assassination.