Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip, has elected Ismail Haniyeh to a second term as its leader, two Palestinian officials told Reuters on Sunday.
"Ismail Haniyeh was re-elected for a second term as the leader of the movement's political office," a source told Reuters. He will serve a four-year tenure.
Since 2017, Haniyeh, the group's commander, has been in charge of the group's political efforts during various armed clashes with Israel, including an 11-day fighting in May that left 250 Palestinians dead and 13 Israelis dead.
Before the wheelchair-bound cleric's assassination in 2004, he was Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's right-hand man in Gaza.
Haniyeh, 58, led Hamas into politics in 2006, when they unexpectedly won Palestinian parliamentary elections, ousting President Mahmoud Abbas' split Fatah party.
Haniyeh became Prime Minister soon after the victory in January 2006, but the international community avoided Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Israel, and the European Union.
In 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which has limited autonomy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Since then, Israel has spearheaded a blockade of Gaza, using Hamas threats as justification.