In a surprising turn of events, Hamas’s Gaza governor Yahya Sinwar is said to have lost internal Hamas elections to his competitor Nizar Awadullah, Lebanese al-Mayadeen TV reports.
No official confirmation has yet come from the Hamas terror group. Hamas’s internal elections are normally conducted in utter secrecy over a period of months.
Al-Mayadeen reports that Sinwar lost by seven votes in the internal Hamas primaries to his opponent.
Sinwar, a long-time terrorist who spent decades in Israeli jails, had been marked by many as an ambitious Hamas official with his eye on the terror group’s top spot — currently occupied by political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh.
Awadullah, a senior Hamas member born in Egypt, played a key role in the negotiations with led to the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas. He served as Gaza governor for the terror group in 2016, before Sinwar assumed the role.
Awadullah’s house was bombed twice by Israel, once in 2009 and again in 2014.