Hamas says Ismail Haniyeh chosen as Islamic group's leader

Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007.

He also said that Hamas movement is pumping new blood into its leadership, referring to electing Yehya al-Sinwar, as the leader of the movement in the Gaza Strip, and electing new Shoura Council.

It comes a few days after Hamas unveiled a revised charter that eased its position on Israel and distanced itself from Islamist groups in the region in what was seen as a bid to reverse years of growing isolation in the region.

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It also says its struggle is not against Jews due to their religion but against Israel as an occupier.

The near suffocation of Gaza, not only by Israel but also by most of the global community, has a lot to do with Hamas' final realisation that its stance is a non-starter. According to NGO Monitor, "World Vision's failures in Gaza highlight the problems of a multi-billion dollar NGO industry that remains largely unregulated and unexamined". There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials on the new leader.

Juggling militancy with a desire for worldwide recognition, Hamas last week unveiled a new document of principles that is said would guide the group. Lieberman said that if he were defense minister, Haniya would be dead within 48 hours if he did not return two Israeli men and the remains of two soldiers that Hamas is believed to be holding in Gaza.

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An influential military figure, he represents for some the hardest line within the Islamist movement.

"I hope (Haniya) makes good decisions for the Palestinians he aspires to lead".

Hamas has frequently highlighted his modest background as a counterpoint to officials within president Mahmud Abbas's Palestinian Authority who have been accused of being corrupt and too easily compliant with Israel or the United States. It previously called for the destruction of the country, but now accepts the presence of Israel within the 1967 borders.

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Founded in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, a close ally, Islamic Jihad is the second force in the Gaza Strip and focused entirely on the armed struggle.

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