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April 27, 2012 9:50 am

Hamas Chooses New Leaders for Gaza in Hidden Vote

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Hamas rally. Photo: wiki commons.

Hamas has secretly chosen new leaders for Gaza, starting movement-wide elections that could determine whether the Islamic militants will moderate or maintain an alliance with longtime patron Iran instead, Hamas officials said Thursday.

The secretive Hamas did not announce the Gaza election results, but several members said that among those chosen were previously sidelined pragmatists, younger activists and a pair of prisoners recently released by Israel.

“Hamas [in Gaza] will be more realistic, more moderate after the election,” said a senior Hamas member, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid censure from his colleagues. Others said the new faces did not necessarily mean a change in direction.

Hamas traditionally keeps much of its leadership structure secret to avoid exposing it to attacks by Israel, which has killed several top Hamas officials in the past.

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