Ismail Haniyeh Elected New Hamas Chief

Published May 7th, 2017 - 05:00 GMT
This file photo taken on August 27, 2014 shows Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya (C) waving to the crowd during a rally in Gaza City following a deal hailed by Israel and the Islamist movement as 'victory' in the 50-day war. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
This file photo taken on August 27, 2014 shows Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya (C) waving to the crowd during a rally in Gaza City following a deal hailed by Israel and the Islamist movement as 'victory' in the 50-day war. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

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

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

He will replace Khaled Meshaal, who has been Hamas 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 and reside abroad. 

"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 traveling," he added. 

Haniyeh was born in 1963 in the Gaza Strip. In 1992, he was exiled by Israel, along with scores of Hamas leaders, to southern Lebanon for about a year.

In 1997, Haniyeh was appointed the head of the office of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. 

In 2006, Haniyeh was appointed a prime minister after Hamas swept parliamentary election in the Gaza Strip. 

He, however, was sacked by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas one year later after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip after bloody infighting with rival group Fatah. 

Since then, he remained the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip.


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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