Hamas elects a woman for its political bureau for the first time
- Hamas announced the re-election of Yahya Sinwar
- Jamila Al-Shantee and Fatima Shurab are two of the 20 selected through an internal vote
- Shantee became the "first woman elected" to the political bureau
Hamas elected a woman to its political bureau for the first time ever, the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip said Sunday.
Hamas had on Wednesday announced the re-election of Yahya Sinwar as head of its political wing in Gaza, the impoverished enclave of two million Palestinians.
On Sunday, the militant movement revealed the identity of the 20 members of its political bureau following an internal vote ahead of legislative polls on May 22 and a presidential election on July 31, the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.
And among the 20 are two women, Jamila Al-Shantee and Fatima Shurab, the latter president of the "women's commission", according to the official list seen by AFP.
While Shurab was appointed to her position, Shantee became the "first woman elected" to the political bureau, Hamas specified in a press release.
Hamas "wants to send a positive signal to the international community and entire region by changing its image and showing it is open and women are represented," said Adnan Abou Amer, professor of politics and media at the Islamic University of Gaza.
Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by many Western states, was due to hold internal elections for its general head in the coming months, with Qatar-based incumbent Ismail Haniyeh expected to run against his deputy Jamal al-Aruri and former Hamas chief Khaled Meshal.
The movement has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.
The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation that will look at alleged war crimes that may have been committed by Israel and Hamas during a 2014 conflict.