Sinwar was a founder of Hamas’ military wing in the 1980s. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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Hamas has named a shadowy commander as its new leader in the Gaza Strip, an official media outlet confirmed Monday, placing one of the group's most hard-line figures in charge of its core power base. The appointment of Yehya Sinwar, who was freed by Israel in a 2011 prisoner swap after two decades behind bars, solidifies the takeover of Gaza operations by the armed wing of the group from civilian leaders. The military wing, which controls thousands of fighters and a vast arsenal of rockets, has battled Israel in three wars since Hamas seized Gaza a decade ago.The military wing tends to take more hard-line positions toward Israel, while the politicians, who are tasked with improving the difficult living conditions in Gaza, tend to be more pragmatic.It was never implemented, and Hamas remains the de facto authority in Gaza.Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a political analyst in Gaza, said the appointment showed the military wing was asserting its dominance in Hamas.
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