Ismail Haniyeh, whom Hamas elected as the Palestinian terror group’s top leader last weekend, made his first public appearance in the new role by visiting a “solidarity tent” for hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Gaza City Monday.
“It’s my honor to shoulder the responsibility of leading the political bureau of this large movement of holy resistance,” Haniyeh said after meeting with local security chiefs, The Associated Press reported.
Haniyeh succeeds Khaled Mashaal, who had headed the terror group in exile since 2004. Haniyeh was formerly the political leader in Gaza, where he was succeeded by Yahya Sinwar, a former Israeli prisoner who is a known hardliner and a senior member of the terror group’s “military wing.”
Haniyeh’s election came days after Hamas released a new manifesto, in which the terror group attempted to rebrand itself as the leader of the Palestinian national movement and downplayed its goal of destroying Israel. The manifesto also raised the possibility of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines, but only as a step in “liberating” all of historic “Palestine.”