Published: Sun, May 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Hamas says Ismail Haniyeh chosen as Islamic group's leader

The global head of the Hamas terror group, Khalid Meshaal, whose personal wealth is estimated at $2.5 billion, on Saturday announced that his man in the Gaza Strip, Hamas government's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, had been "elected" to replace him.

"I would like to announce that this new council has elected Abu al-Abed, my brother Ismail Haniya, the president of the political bureau of the movement", Meshaa told Al Jazeera news outlet.

In a related story, the radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad has rejected Hamas's new policy of easing its stand on Israel and accepting the establishment of a Palestinian state limited to the 1967 borders.

It also says Hamas's struggle is not with Jews but with "occupying Zionist aggressors".

Hamas officials said the revised document in no way amounts to recognition of the Zionist entity as a state. In recent weeks, Abbas has threatened to exert financial pressure, including cutting wage payments and aid to Gaza, as a way of forcing Hamas to cede ground.

The announcement came shortly after Gaza's rulers unveiled a new, seemingly more pragmatic political programme aimed at ending the group's worldwide isolation.

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Mary Keitany of Kenya broke the women's record, previously held by Paula Radcliffe, by running an incredible time of 2:17:01. Len, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, said: "I keep saying each year will be my last year but I keep giving it another bash".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman has dismissed the revision, accusing Hamas of "attempting to fool the world".

Hamdan said he was hopeful that Haniya could "repair and reform the situation" and his election can "help the reconciliation agreement [with Hamas's main Palestinian rival Fatah, in control of the West Bank] implemented on the ground", as Haniya resides in Gaza.

Yahya Sinwar was jailed by Israel until October 2011, when he was freed along with more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured five years earlier.

The Rafah border crossing is Gaza's only access point to the outside world not controlled by Israel. "Time for promise & hope?" Hamas is listed as a terrorist organisation by the U.S. and European Union.

Haniyeh used to be active within the "Islamic bloc, the student arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, where from Hamas has emerged".

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