Backed by Qatar Khaled Mashaal set to make Hamas leadership comeback
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Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal looks set to make a return to the leadership role, KAN News has reported.
Mashaal took charge of Hamas in 1996 and stayed in the leadership role for over twenty years, relinquishing the role in 2017, whereupon he scaled down his public appearances.
However, with official elections for Hamas leadership set to take place in the latter half of 2020, Mashaal has recently begun to resurface in the public eye. According to KAN, it is believed that the appearances are in preparation for Mashaal announcing a leadership bid.
Hamas is currently led by Ismail Haniyeh, aided by the group’s military leader Yahya Sinwar, who took over when Mashaal stepped down. But as both Haniyeh and Sinwar are based in Gaza, the handover is said by Israeli defense forces to have made Hamas more cautious as they had more to lose should a full-scale war erupt.
Mashaal, on the other hand, is based in Qatar, which is backing his bid along with Turkey, which routinely offers Hamas leaders safe haven. Both countries are looking to increase their influence on the terrorist group.
If successful, Mashaal will likely offer Haniyeh the deputy leader role, deposing the current deputy Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Istanbul.