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Hamas "will hold on to Meshaal"

The head of the Palestinian government in Gaza has confirmed his belief that Hamas "will hold on to Khaled Meshaal" as the head of the Islamic Resistance Movement's Political Bureau. Speaking during his visit to Qatar, Ismail Haniyeh said that the movement's political and military leaders are calling on Meshaal to withdraw his decision to stand down. Mr. Meshaal had notified the Hamas Shura Council of his intention not to stand for re-election during its meeting last month.


Hamas officials from both wings of the organisation have stressed to Meshaal the importance of him staying in the post in the light of the ongoing political developments across the Middle East. The request is said to be based on the generally-held will of the membership at home and abroad.

The official Qatari News Agency also reported that Mr. Haniyeh had met the Amir of Qatar and discussed a number of issues, including progress towards national reconciliation, the risks facing Jerusalem, Israeli policies and developments related to the Arab Spring. The meeting with Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani also focused on the reconstruction of Gaza's shattered infrastructure. It was noted that the Amir is ready to establish a number of projects in the Gaza Strip, especially relating to the destruction caused by Israel during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9.

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