Hamas has elected a new leader in the Gaza Strip to replace Yahya Sinwar, according to people familiar with the matter. His name is Nizar Awadallah, the sources said.
Awadallah, 63, was one of four candidates who challenged Sinwar, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported. The other three candidates were identified as Mahmoud Zahar, Fathi Hammad and Ziyad al-Thatha.
Awadallah, who previously served as head of Hamas’s Shura Council, a decision-making consultative body that elects the group’s politburo, was elected in secret elections over the past few weeks for the group’s leaders in the Gaza Strip and abroad.
During the First Intifada, he headed a secret Hamas armed wing named the Palestinian Mujahideen.
Awadallah will serve as head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip. The terrorist group is also expected to elect a new overall leader for its political bureau, currently headed by Ismail Haniyeh.
Awadallah, who studied civil engineering in Egypt, was closely associated with Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. He previously spent 10 years in Israeli prison for his involvement in terrorism.
Sinwar, 58, succeeded Haniyeh as Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip in 2017.
Some reports, however, said that the result of the vote was not final and that a second round would take place between Awadallah and Sinwar.