Hamas leader rumored to step down

Jan. 18, 2012 at 12:14 PM
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GAZA, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is rumored to be stepping down to allow a new leader to take Hamas in a different direction, officials say.

Mustafa Lidawi, former Hamas representative in Lebanon, wrote on an Arab Web site that Meshaal will retire from his post when elections take place in the next few months.

Meshaal, however, has not made a formal announcement, The Guardian reported Wednesday. "For anything like this to be true, there would have to be a formal announcement by either the movement of Mr. Meshaal himself," a Hamas spokesman told The National.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he plans to meet with Meshaal on Feb. 1 in Cairo to discuss the reconciliation of the Fatah and Hamas groups.

Meshaal arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss the latest developments of the reconciliation with Egyptian officials. He is also scheduled to meet with the Swiss envoy to the Middle East on Wednesday to discuss Palestinian issues, Al-Masry al-Youm reported

Meshaal told Abbas last November that he would reposition Hamas to move away from violent resistance, a move criticized by Gaza leadership.

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