Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal to step down in shake-up

The leader in exile of Hamas will step down by the end of the year, heralding a shake-up at the top of the Palestinian militant group.

Khaled Meshaal will not run in the leadership election in a few months’ time.

Meshaal, 60, took control of Hamas in 2004 after Israel assassinated his predecessor. He has largely run the movement from abroad — first from Damascus, then the Qatari capital Doha, where he moved in 2012.

His influence has dwindled since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. The local leadership has taken on a more prominent role, ­particularly the military wing.

Meshaal’s likely successor is Ismail Haniyeh, the 53-year-old former Gaza prime minister, who has taken an increasingly aggressive stance towards Israel.

Read the full story by Gregg Carlstrom from The Times in The Australian