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With appointment of new deputy chief, Hamas leadership more militant than ever

The appointment of Saleh al-Arouri as Hamas’ No. 2 reflects the movement's desire to preserve ties with Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, and could mean trouble for political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh.
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The appointment of Saleh al-Arouri as deputy head of Hamas' political bureau completes the overhaul of the movement’s leadership since the departure of Khaled Meshaal as bureau chief this past summer. The leadership now consists of Meshaal’s successor on the bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, born in Gaza’s al-Shati refugee camp; the movement's leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, a Khan Yunis resident; and Arouri, Haniyeh’s deputy and a native of the West Bank village of Aroureh, near Ramallah. The triumvirate's members are all second-generation Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank, grew up in poverty and hardship in teeming refugee camps, and worked their way to the top of the pyramid.

Arouri has been living outside the Israeli-occupied territories in recent years. After his release from an Israeli prison in 2010, he was banned from living in the West Bank and Gaza and ended up in Turkey. In 2015, the Turks expelled him. He moved to Qatar, only to be expelled from there in 2017. Arouri now resides in Beirut. Previous Hamas leaders — Meshaal, Moussa Abu Marzouk (from Rafah, in Gaza) and others — could have settled in the besieged Gaza enclave, but chose instead to live in more luxurious surroundings. Arouri, however, has no choice but to live abroad.

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