Occupied Jerusalem: Israel should have taken advantage of exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Mesha’al’s first visit to the Gaza Strip to kill him, opposition MP and Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz said on Saturday.

“We should have taken advantage of the occasion to slice the head off the serpent. Mesha’al deserves to die,” Iranian-born Mofaz, also a former defence minister, said in a statement.

“I would recommend that he pack his bags as quickly as possible and get out of Gaza,” he added.

“If Israel continues to weaken Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] and does not deal firmly with Hamas, we will soon see Mesha’al in Judaea and Samaria,” Mofaz said, referring to the West Bank.

In an unprecedented visit to Gaza, Mesha’al on Saturday rejected ceding “an inch” of Palestinian territory to Israel or recognising the Jewish state, in a speech to mark the 25th anniversary of the Islamist group’s founding.

On September 25, 1997, agents of Israel’s Mossad secret service disguised as Canadian tourists bungled an attempt to assassinate Mesha’al on a street in Amman by injecting him with poison.

Three attackers took refuge inside the Israeli embassy, but two were captured by Jordanian authorities.

Mesha’al fell into a coma and a furious King Hussain demanded that Israel hand over the antidote if it wanted the captured agents to be freed.