May 27, 9:42 AM EDT

Senior Hamas official Abu Marzouk settling in Gaza for good


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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- A senior Hamas official says he is moving to the Gaza Strip for good, underscoring the gradual shift of the Islamic militant movement's power base from exile to the Palestinian territory.

Moussa Abu Marzouk entered Gaza on Wednesday, after heart surgery in Qatar.

He told The Associated Press that he is "in good health" and is "staying in Gaza for good." Abu Marzouk, once based in Egypt, has been spending months at a time in Gaza since late 2013.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since seizing it from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. Hamas' leaders in exile used to be the main decision-makers, and the group chief, Khaled Mashaal, is still based in Qatar. However, after three Israel-Hamas wars, the Hamas center of power gradually has shifted to Gaza.

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