Report: Hamas Re-elects Khaled Meshal as Its Leader

Due to pressure from Egypt, Meshal to remain Hamas' political chief despite past announcements that he does not intend to seek another term.

Hamas' political bureau and Shura Council, the movement's internal parliament, unanimously voted on Monday to re-elect Khaled Meshal as political chief of the Islamic group ruling the Gaza Strip.

According to reports from Cairo, where Hamas representatives from both Gaza and abroad are meeting this week, the members decided to elect Meshal for another term despite his past announcements that he does not intend to run for the position again.

Hamas representatives convened in one of Cairo's most luxurious hotels on Sunday. An Egyptian source close to the meetings told Haaretz that Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh expressed his desire to run, in addition to deputy political bureau chief Moussa Abu Marzouk. However, as a result of Egyptian pressure and internal pressure, it was decided that Meshal would remain in the top post. Haniyeh will continue to lead the movement in Gaza while Meshal will be the organization's general leader.

Egyptian officials also reported that the head of the Egyptian Military Intelligence, Rafet Shahata, and other senior officials from the Muslim Brotherhood maintained secret contact over the elections and their consequences for the movement – as well as the relationship between Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.

According to Hamas sources, the Egyptians, as well as senior Hamas officials, pressured Meshal to continue serving in his position since the election of a new leader would be cause internal strife, which in turn would delay measures the Egyptians are planning, which have to do with Egypt's ties with the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian reconciliation. 

AP