Hamas re-elects Meshaal as leader

AFP reports: Hamas re-elected its veteran exiled leader Khaled Meshaal in Cairo on Monday, said an official of the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules Gaza.

“The leaders of Hamas chose Meshaal,” the high-ranking official told AFP via telephone from the Egyptian capital, requesting anonymity.

Hamas officials said earlier that the movement’s governing shura council was poised to renew Meshaal’s leadership for another four years, with one describing his re-election as “widely known”.

Prior to Monday’s vote, however, there had been speculation that the exiled leader would be forced aside by the movement’s powerful leaders in the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since 2007.

Meshaal himself had said last year that he would not seek a new term.

But developments in the Middle East since the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 “pushed Hamas to choose Meshaal… who has given the movement a national face… and has good relations in the Arab world,” one Hamas official said Monday.

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