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Haniyeh chosen as new Hamas chief

May 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Ismail Haniyeh, Head of Hamas Political Bureau, on 10 April, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was elected chief of the group’s political bureau, a Hamas source said today.

Haniyeh was selected in polls that were held today in both the Gaza Strip and Doha simultaneously via video conference.

He will replace Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’ long-time leader who has been the Palestinian Islamist organisation’s political chief since 1996.

Haniyeh, a former prime minister, competed for the post along with senior Hamas leaders Moussa Abu Marzouk and Mohammed Nazzal.

He is now expected to leave the Gaza Strip where he has spent the vast majority of his time since Israel imposed the siege on Gaza about a decade ago. Haniyeh will likely reside abroad so that he can carry out his new functions.

“Living in Gaza is dangerous as he is likely to be targeted by Israel,” the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.

“His position also requires him to be moving around and travelling,” he added.

Meshaal departs from the post after steering Hamas through numerous crises, including several Israeli wars launched against the Gaza Strip. He was also the driving force behind the new charter that has paved the way for Hamas’ future direction under Haniyeh.