Terrorist Yahya Sanwar has been elected to lead Hamas in the Gaza Strip after internal elections were held for the organization’s institutional and leadership positions, according to reports from Al Jazeera.
Khalil al-Haya has been chosen to serve as Sanwar’s deputy.
Sanwar was on the most senior terrorists released by Israel in the Shalit deal in which hundreds of terrorists were released in exchange for the return of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
He has developed a reputation as being among the most radical in Hamas, calling since his release for further kidnappings of IDF soldiers, and is thought of as the link between the military and political wing the terror organization.
With his ascent to power, Sanwar will take the reins to rule the strip from Khaled Mashal, despite Ismail Haniyeh being slated to fill the top spot.
When released from prison in 2011, Sanwar lamented the fact that other terrorists still remained in Israeli jails and called on Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, to undertake fierce efforts to kidnap more soldiers to bring about the release of more Palestinian prisoners.
Born into a family of terrorists, he is considered to be ascetic, strong, tough and the possessor of extreme discipline.
During Operation Protective Edge, the new leader’s brother, Mohammad Sanwar—who was the architect of the Shalit deal—had his home attacked by the IDF.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed at the time that, with the cooperation with the Shin Bet, the homes of two senior Hamas terrorists had been attacked after they were being used as a command and control center of the organization, among them, the home of Mohammad Sanwar who was responsible for terrorists in Khan Yunis.
As far as Sanwar’s new deputy is concerned, Khalil al-Haya has also earned a reputation for being among the more radical elements of Hamas and was a member of the negotiating team in the Shalit negotiations.
His son was killed in Protective Edge after the Israel Air Force struck his home.