Is­mail Haniyeh is Ha­mas’s new leader

New Straits Times - - World -

GAZA CITY: The Ha­mas Is­lamic mil­i­tant move­ment that con­trols the Gaza Strip an­nounced on Satur­day it had cho­sen for­mer Gaza prime min­is­ter Is­mail Haniyeh as the group’s new po­lit­i­cal chief.

Haniyeh’s suc­ces­sion comes shortly af­ter Gaza’s rulers un­veiled a new, seem­ingly more prag­matic 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 lan­guage call­ing for Is­rael’s de­struc­tion, though it re­tains the goal of even­tu­ally “lib­er­at­ing” Pales­tine, which in­cludes what is now Is­rael. AP

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