Hamas’ New Top Leader Delivers First Speech in Gaza City

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh at a speech in Gaza City on Wednesday. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

The new leader of the militant Hamas group has delivered his first public speech in the Gaza Strip since his election in May.

Ismail Haniyeh addressed supporters on Wednesday in Gaza City, repeating Hamas’ traditional hard-line stance against Israel. But he also called for unity with the rival Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas took control of Gaza a decade ago from Abbas’ forces, leaving him in control only in the West Bank. Reconciliation efforts have repeatedly failed.

Haniyeh laid out conditions Abbas will likely oppose, such as formation of a unity government and an end to Abbas’ security coordination with Israel.

The speech likely attempted to pave the way for a new partnership with Mohammed Dahlan, an exiled Abbas rival who is seeking a return to Palestinian politics.