Ismael Haneya was named on Saturday as the new chief of Islamic Hamas movement after he won in the recent internal elections, a spokesman for the movement in Gaza announced.

Abdulatif al-Qanou, Hamas spokesman in Gaza said in an emailed press statement that Haneya replaced Kahled Meshaal, the Hamas leader that has been the chief of the movement for eight years.

Meshaal’s first announcement was made to al-Jazeera News Channel in Qatar.

Meshaal announced from Doha, Qatar that Haneya has been elected as the new chief of the movement. The announcement was made jointly between Qatar and Gaza via the video conference system.

Hamas spokesman said the announcement was jointly made after Haneya and other Hamas leaders in Gaza were unable to travel to Qatar due to a blockade that is imposed on the Gaza Strip and the closure of Rafah crossing with Egypt.

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“Electing Haneya and holding the well-organized internal elections on time were made in spite of the situation that Hamas is passing through,” said al-Qanoua, adding “this reflects how powerful Hamas movement is.”

He went on saying that Hamas movement is pumping new blood into its leadership, referring to electing Yehya al-Sinwar, as the leader of the movement in the Gaza Strip, and electing new Shoura Council.

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