Haniyeh secretly elected head of Gaza’s Hamas politburo


(JTA) — Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was elected the head of the group’s political bureau, its most powerful institution in Gaza, in secret balloting.

Elections held less than two weeks ago made Haniyeh the first recognized leader of Hamas in Gaza since 2004, when Israel assassinated Abdel Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, then Hamas’ political chief in Gaza, Haaretz reported Tuesday.

Also elected to the 15-member politburo were two Palestinians released in last year’s prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier Hamas had held since 2006.

Hamas will hold general elections for its overall politburo in May. Current Hamas chief Khaled Meshal has indicated that he will not seek re-election.

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