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Hamas Re-Elects Ismail Haniyeh         08/02 06:17


   GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- The Islamic militant group Hamas on Sunday 
said it has re-elected its supreme leader.

   Ismail Haniyeh, who has been living in exile for the past two years, was 
given a new four-year term by the Shura Council, the Islamic group's top 
decision-making body. He was unopposed.

   Haniyeh is a former aid to Hamas' founder, Ahmed Yassin, who was 
assassinated in an Israeli airstrike in 2004.

   He served as the Palestinian prime minister after Hamas won parliamentary 
elections in 2006 -- a year before the Islamic militant group seized control of 
Gaza from the rival Fatah-led forces of President Mahmoud Abbas. He served as 
Hamas' leader in the group's Gaza stronghold before being elected as head of 
the movement in 2017.

   Haniyeh left Gaza in 2019 and has split his time between Turkey and Qatar. 
He has not said whether he will return.

   Hamas is an Islamic movement that seeks Israel's destruction. Since taking 
control of Gaza in 2007, the group has fought four wars against Israel, most 
recently in May, and numerous smaller battles over the years.

   The repeated fighting, combined with an Egyptian-Israeli blockade, has 
decimated Gaza's economy, with unemployment hovering around 50%.

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