A report in the Saudi-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper says Hamas leaders in exile and in the Palestinian terroitories prefer Haniyeh over Mahmoud Zahar, the Ha'aretz news agency reported Saturday.
Zahar has more sway in the Gaza Strip, but was placed seventh on the Hamas list ahead of the Jan. 25 parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice won assurances from Russia that Moscow would send a firm message to Hamas that the militant group must change if it wants world support.
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