The Hamas Shura council re-elected Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on Monday for a fourth term as head of the Islamic movement’s political bureau.
Mashaal, regarded as the leader of the more moderate wing in Hamas, was previously planning to retire. His surprising re-election is seen as an attempt to improve Hamas’s relations with Egypt. This follows the recent flooding and destruction by the Egyptians of tunnels on the Gazan border through which Hamas has brought in military supplies over recent years.
Hamas has been accused by the Egyptian media of involvement in an attack on a border crossing last year in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed. The movement is also being challenged at home in Gaza, where smaller, radical Palestinian organisations have broken the ceasefire with Israel, launching mortar shells and missiles.
The first attack came two weeks ago during President Obama’s visit, when four missiles were fired at Sderot.
Then on Tuesday two rockets were fired at Sderot plus mortar rounds.
No one was injured but the Israeli Air Force attacked two targets in Gaza on Tuesday night in retaliation. The IDF Spokesman said that, while Israel does not believe Hamas is interested in escalation, it holds the movement responsible for all attacks launched from Gaza.