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How Hamas' new Gaza leader came to power

With Hamas’ military commander Mohammed al-Deif suffering from multiple injuries, Yahya Sinwar has been elected the overall leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Freed Palestinian Hamas leader Yehia Sinwar (C) greets supporters following his release from an Israeli jail at a welcome tent near his home in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on October 19, 2011. The Palestinian Hamas movement exchanged Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who spent more than five years of isolation in a Gaza hide-out, for hundreds of Palestinian militants being held in Israeli jails. AFP PHOTO/SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Even as reports were emerging of Yahya Sinwar’s Feb. 13 election to replace Ismail Haniyeh as the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, other reports from Gaza are pointing to a significant decline in the health of Mohammed al-Deif, the commander of the movement’s military wing. Some Gaza sources even claim he is at death’s door.

Deif is considered a living legend for surviving all Israeli attempts on his life. The top of Israel’s most wanted list was injured in September 2002, during the second Palestinian intifada, when two missiles fired from an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) helicopter hit a car in which he was traveling on Salah al-Din Street in Gaza City. Deif was severely injured, sustaining head wounds and face burns, and lost his sight in one eye. He underwent complex treatments by doctors sent from Egypt to Gaza and survived.

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