Cairo: Hamas' Shura
council, the highest decision-making body of the Islamic
Palestinian militant group, has decided in Cairo to grant a new
term to its current leader Khaled Meshaal, official news agency
It is Meshaal's fourth term as the chief of Hamas.
The process of Hamas' internal elections is nearly secret.
Elections are held among people living in the Palestinian
territories, and then among Hamas supporters and members in
Israeli jails and Hamas' people in exile.
Meshaal, 56, has been leading the political bureau of Hamas since
1996. Last year, he indicated that he would not run for another
term. But sources told Xinhua that Qatar, Egypt and Turkey were
appealing for Meshaal to stay on, saying it is not the proper time
for him to step down.
The pressure on Mashaal to stay mounted after he made a landmark
visit to the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by his own movement,
in December 2012.
Early last year, Meshaal abandoned his long-time base in Syria' s
capital of Damascus, avoiding pressure from the Syrian authorities
to side himself with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Since then,
he has been staying mainly in Qatar's Doha.