Former Gaza PM Ismail Haniyeh is new Hamas chief

Former Gaza PM Ismail Haniyeh is new Hamas chief

New leader of Islamist terror group running the Gaza strip is former political head

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

Former Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh has been chosen as the new leader of Islamic terror group Hamas.

Mr Haniyeh was selected on Saturday as Hamas politburo chief, replacing Khaled Mashaal, its longtime leader.

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

Hamas is trying to rebrand itself as an Islamic national liberation movement, rather than a branch of the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed by Egypt.

It has also dropped explicit language calling for Israel’s destruction, though it retains the goal of eventually “liberating” all of historic Palestine, which includes what is now Israel.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007.

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