Meshaal re-elected as Hamas chief
Gaza City (AFP): Veteran Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who was re-elected as Hamas chief, is well-respected in the Arab world and seen as the best...
Gaza City (AFP): Veteran Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who was re-elected as Hamas chief, is well-respected in the Arab world and seen as the best choice to steer the Islamists through a Middle East in turmoil. The re-election of the charismatic 56-year-old as the overall head of the Palestinian Islamist Movement which rules the Gaza Strip was widely seen as a shoo-in, with his new mandate confirmed by a vote in Cairo late on Monday. There had been some speculation that Meshaal, who is based in Qatar, would be forced aside by the movement's powerful leadership in Gaza, where it has been the ruling authority since 2007and Meshaal himself said last year that he would not seek a new term. But in the light of the regional turmoil sparked by the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, the thinking shifted and Meshaal came to be seen as best-placed to guide the Islamist movement through the rapidly changing environment because of his extensive contacts in the Arab world, said another Hamas official. A brilliant orator, Meshaal has used the freedom of movement that is denied to Hamas leaders in Gaza to criss-cross the Arab and Muslim world, raising the profile of the Islamist movement which seized control of the coastal enclave from forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas six years ago. eshaal, who was born in the West Bank but went into exile as a child, made his first-ever visit to Gaza in December where he received a hero's welcome as he attended the celebrations marking 25 years since the founding of Hamas. He was propelled to the movement's leadership in 2004 after Israel assassinated Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Abdelaziz al-Rantissi in two deadly strikes on Gaza.
17 Jan 2020 5:20 PM GMT