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Hamas' Gaza leader reelected in internal vote

Yahya Sinwar has led the Palestinian group in Gaza since 2017.

Hamas’ head official in the Gaza Strip has been reelected.

Yahya Sinwar won the internal election within the Palestinian political and military organization. The voting was open to Hamas members, including those in the West Bank, Israeli prisons and living abroad. Tens of thousands voted, the Hamas-affiliated Safa news outlet reported on Wednesday.

Sinwar has been Hamas’ Gaza leader since 2017. This will be his second term. His main opponent was experienced Hamas official Nizar Awadallah, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Sinwar was freed from Israeli prison in 2011 in a prisoner swap after spending more than 20 years incarcerated. The charges against him included the murder of suspected informants. His tenure has coincided with relative stability on Gaza’s border with Israel, according to Reuters. Clashes between Israel and Hamas plus other Palestinian groups occur off and on.

Hamas controls Gaza internally, but Israel controls its airspace and maritime territory, in addition to one of its land borders. Egypt controls Gaza’s other land border.