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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 08:30 PM

Haniyeh tops Hamas poll, but Meshaal to remain overall leader

GAZA CITY: Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas government in Gaza, has emerged in voting as the movementís leader there, but incumbent Khaled Meshaal is expected to retain his position as overall chief.

Voting in the coastal strip, which has been taking place over the past month, placed Haniyeh at the head of the Palestinian territoryís 15-member political bureau ahead of Mahmoud Zahar, previously considered the main leader there, party officials said Friday on condition of anonymity.

Joining them was Imad al-Alami, who served on the movementís political bureau at its headquarters in Syria, before leaving the violence-ridden country and returning to his Gaza home in February after an absence of 23 years.

Ahmad Jaabari and Marwan Issa, two militant leaders from Hamasís armed Ezzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, were also named to the Gaza bureau along with Yehia Sinwar and Rawhi Mushtaha, who were among 1,027 prisoners freed by Israel in October in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.


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