Terrorist sanctioned by US appointed Hamas deputy leader

Terror group appoints exiled terrorist sanctioned by US Treasury who praised kidnapping, murder of 3 Jewish teenagers in 2014.

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AFP,

Hamas rally in Gaza
Hamas rally in Gaza
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

The Islamist terrorist movement Hamas has appointed as its deputy leader a military official
accused of organizing multiple deadly attacks against Israelis, an official said Thursday.

"Salah al-Aruri was elected deputy to (Hamas leader) Ismail Haniya," an official in the movement told AFP on condition of anonymity, after a vote of its 18-member political bureau.

Aruri, who lives in exile after having spent almost two decades in Israeli jails, is alleged to have masterminded a series of attacks against Israelis in Judea and Samaria.

In 2015, the US Treasury issued sanctions against Aruri, along with other officials of Hamas, which is currently in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority about reconciliation.

Aruri was based in Syria for a number of years but is now resident in Lebanon, according to senior Hamas sources.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel, which had previously accused Turkey of sheltering Aruri, to his appointment.

Hamas was behind the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in Judea and Samaria that was part of an escalation towards war in Gaza that summer.

The Islamist group has never officially claimed responsibility for the killings but a video posted online shows Aruri praising Hamas's military wing for the "heroic" action.

His appointment follows the election in February of another military leader, Yahya Sinwar, as Hamas's Gaza chief.

Analysts say Sinwar is technically third in command following Aruri's appointment but has strong support in the military wing.

Aruri joined Hamas in 1987 and helped establish a military wing for the movement in Judea and Samaria, according to Hamas media.

He was jailed by Israel for 15 years after being convicted of forming military cells in the territory.

Three months after his release in 2007 he was again jailed for a further three years, before being released and deported from Israel.