Ismail Haniyeh re-elected leader of Hamas

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Ismail Haniyah has been re-elected leader of the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas, officials said on Monday.

Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, has been led by the 58-year-old since 2017. Haniyah has recently spent much of his time in Qatar.
The United States, the European Union and Israel classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Hamas is the second-largest Palestinian organization after the rival Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah partially administers the Israeli-occupied West Bank via the Palestinian Authority.

Haniyah is considered part of the more pragmatic wing of Hamas, while Yehya al-Sinwar, the Hamas official in charge of Gaza, in seen as more radical.

Haniyah was born in Gaza’s Shatti refugee camp in 1963. His father was a fisherman. He studied Arabic literature in Gaza and began his political activities in an Islamic student group at the university.

During the first Palestinian uprising, which began in 1987, Israel sentenced him to three years in prison. In 1992, after being released, Haniyah was sent into exile in southern Lebanon with other Hamas leaders.

After a big Hamas victory in Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, Haniyah became prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

The following year, after a bloody fratricidal war between Hamas and Fatah, Haniyah lost his job as prime minister but Hamas seized control of Gaza.

Since then, Abbas has effectively only ruled in the West Bank, while Hamas is in control in the Gaza Strip. All attempts at reconciliation have so far failed.

Haniyah was elected to a second term as Hamas chief at the weekend, during a meeting of the organization’s main decision-making body, the politburo.

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