Reports: Ex-Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh to Become Terror Group’s New Chief

Ismail Haniyeh

The Times of Israel reports: Former Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh (pictured) is likely to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of the Hamas terror group’s politburo in upcoming elections, according to Arab media reports Monday.

All other contenders for the position are said to have withdrawn, leaving Haniyeh as the sole candidate.

“There is almost an agreement inside the leadership of the political bureau that the two (other) expected candidates running for the presidency of Hamas would withdraw and therefore, allow Haniyeh to chair the movement,” an informed source told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Haniyeh, 53, left the coastal enclave via the Rafah crossing Monday en route to Saudi Arabia to attend the hajj, according to Hamas radio. He is also expected to visit Turkey before taking up residence in Qatari capital of Doha.

The head of Hamas’s political bureau is expected to live outside of Gaza, as traveling in and out of the Strip is difficult. Mashaal has lived for the last several years in Qatar.

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