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Haniyeh re-elected as chief of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas for 4 more years

Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh talks after meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Ismail Haniyeh has been re-elected as head of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, following an internal election by party members in the besieged Gaza Strip.

"Brother Ismail Haniyeh was re-elected as the head of the movement's political office for a second time," an unnamed Palestinian official told Reuters on Sunday.

Haniyeh has been the chief of Hamas since 2017. His second term will last four years.

He has been in charge of the resistance movement's political activities in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, splitting his time between Turkey and Qatar over the past two years.

Haniyeh was the right-hand man of the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated along with a number of his guards on March 22, 2004, when an Israeli aircraft targeted them with Hellfire missiles as the 67-year-old leader was being wheeled out of an early morning prayer session held at a mosque close to his house in Gaza City.

The 58-year-old top Hamas official has fought multiple conflicts with Israel. He also directed the resistance groups in the recent Israeli military aggression on Gaza, in which they emerged victorious.

The Israeli regime started a 12-day war against Gaza Strip on May 10 after Palestinians retaliated against violent raids on worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East al-Quds.

Gaza’s resistance groups, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in particular, responded to the aggression on the same day that it started targeting the impoverished enclave.

Apparently caught off guard by unprecedented rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance groups accepted with Egyptian mediation.

As a result of the brutal Israeli aggression, more than 250 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 66 children, with more than 1,900 people wounded.

The Palestinian rockets also killed 12 in the occupied territories.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards.

Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

The crippling blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the Gaza Strip.

Israel occupied East al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later had to withdraw from Gaza, but has been occupying the other territories ever since.

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