Hamas’s prime leadership outside of the Palestinian territories plans to move to the Gaza Strip after a planned Israeli pullout from the territory this summer to boost their political power among the Palestinians, a Saudi newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, the group’s senior leader in Gaza, had said in recent days that the organization’s top leaders who left after the start
of a Palestinian uprising in September 2000 for Lebanon and Syria should “come back home” to Gaza.
According to the London-based Saudi newspaper al-Shark al-Awsat, many of the leaders are considering his call. However, Khaled Meshaal, the group’s most senior political leader who was originally based in the West Bank and now resides in Syria, is not expected to return.
Hamas, the newspaper reported, is itching to boost its power Israel’s assassinations of its leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi last year.
The organization, which had killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, has been growing in popularity among Palestinians, mainly in Gaza, since the start of the uprising.
Hamas won most seats in local council elections in Gaza in January and plans to content Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group in a parliamentary ballot this summer for the first time.
The group joined other terrorist organizations last month in a declaration of a de facto ceasefire with Israel but has during the past few weeks hinted it would resume violence in the wake of recent killings of Palestinians by the army, who Israel said had been involved in terrorism.