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Haniyeh re-elected as chief of Palestinian Hamas

Ismail Haniya arrives at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport on June 27, 2021 in Beirut, Lebanon [Ali Allouch ATPImages/Getty Images]
Ismail Haniya arrives at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport on June 27, 2021 in Beirut, Lebanon [Ali Allouch ATPImages/Getty Images]

Ismail Haniyeh has been elected to a second term as head of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, two Palestinian officials told Reuters on Sunday.

"Brother Ismail Haniyeh was re-elected as the head of the movement's political office for a second time," one official told Reuters. His term will last four years.

Haniyeh, the group's leader since 2017, has controlled its political activities throughout several armed confrontations with Israel – including an 11-day conflict in May that leftover 250 in Gaza and 13 in Israel dead.

He was the right-hand man to Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza, before the wheelchair-bound cleric was assassinated in 2004.

READ: 'What we took by force will not be given up in talks'

Haniyeh, 58, led Hamas' entry into politics in 2006 when they were surprisingly won the Palestinian parliamentary elections, defeating a divided Fatah party led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Haniyeh became prime minister shortly after the January 2006 victory, but Hamas – which is deemed a terrorist organisation by the United States, Israel, and the European Union – was shunned by the international community.

Following a brief civil war, Hamas seized Gaza from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in 2007. Israel has led a blockade of Gaza since then, citing threats from Hamas.

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