Hamas appoints new government

March 10, 2011 at 9:40 AM
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GAZA, March 10 (UPI) -- Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has been named by party officials to head a new government in Gaza.

The new government is made up entirely of Hamas members, with many holding positions at the Islamic University in Gaza, the Ma'an News Agency reported.

The United States is among a group of nations, along with the European Union, that considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

"The reshuffle is an administrative step and is not against reconciliation," Haniyeh said.

Haniyeh said the new government would step down when a national unity agreement ending division with Fatah is signed. Fatah is a major Palestinian political party and is the largest element of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The announcement comes as Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is holding talks to form a new government. He was appointed prime minister under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The West Bank government resigned last month. President Mahmoud Abbas earlier this month granted Fayyad a two-week extension to form a new government.

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