Reports from Gaza Monday said that Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Gaza branch of the terror organization, will be leaving his post. Haniyeh is to be replaced by Yahya Sanwar, a Hamas terrorist who was released from an Israeli prison in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit deal. Haniyeh is stepping down in order to compete for the leadership of the Hamas international organization, led by departing chief terrorist Khaled Mashaal.
Sanwar is a founder of the Hamas military wing and one of the kidnappers of IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman, Hy”d, whom he helped murder. Sanwar’s brother Muhammad was one of the kidnappers of Shalit in 2006, and Yahya Sanwar assisted in that operation as well.
Sanwar is considered among the more fanatic Islamists in the terror group, who has written in apocalyptic terms of “perpetual war” with Israel, according to Haaretz. Immediately upon his release, Sanwar spoke at a mass rally in Gaza, declaring a “jihad” on Israel and swearing that he would not stop until all Hamas terrorists were freed, and that only suicide bombing attacks would succeed in achieving that goal. The last suicide bombing attack that Hamas took responsibility for was in 2008.