Hamas says it's in final round of leadership vote

Hamas says it
# 01 April 2013 17:32 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Two Hamas officials say senior figures in the Palestinian militant movement have gathered in Cairo for the last stage of internal elections to determine the group's new leader.

Khaled Mashaal, the Qatar-based chief of the Islamic movement since 1996, is the front-runner for the post, APA reports quoting Associated Press.

The officials said the vote was likely to be held later Monday in Cairo. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the secret procedure.

Mashaal has pushed for reconciliation with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but has encountered resistance from Hamas hardliners in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, leaving him in charge of only parts of the West Bank. Reconciliation between the two territories has since been elusive.

Hamas has repeatedly postponed the voting.