Khaled Mashaal re-elected as Hamas leader | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 01.04.2013
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Middle East

Khaled Mashaal re-elected as Hamas leader

Khaled Mashaal has been re-elected leader of Hamas. The Palestinian Islamist movement did not issue an announcement over Mashaal's re-election, but the news was confirmed by Hamas officials.

Monday's vote, which took place in secrecy during a Cairo meeting, marked the end of Hamas internal elections spread over several countries. Officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the AFP and AP news agencies that the movement's governing Shura Council re-elected Mashaal unopposed for another four years.

Hamas officials had traveled to the Egyptian capital on Sunday and Monday for the vote, and to speak with local leaders about reconciliation with the Western-backed rival Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, leaving Abbas with only parts of the West Bank. The two rival governments have since become increasingly entrenched in their respective territories.

The Qatar-based Mashaal, 56, was thrust into Hamas' leadership in 2004 after Israel assassinated the movement's founding leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Abdelaziz al-Rantissi in Gaza.

In 1997, Mashaal himself survived an Israeli assassination attempt in Jordan when agents of the Mossad secret service disguised as Canadian tourists attempted to poison him on a street in Amman.

dr/ccp  (AFP, AP)

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