CAIRO (AP) — Two Hamas officials say the Islamic militant group has re-elected Khaled Mashaal as its leader.

Mashaal, 56, who has run the Palestinian movement since 1996 from exile, was seen as a favorite.

He is backed by regional powers Qatar, Turkey and Egypt. He is now based in Qatar.

His re-election could revive stalled reconciliation efforts between Hamas and political rival Mahmoud Abbas, the Western-backed Palestinian president.

The officials said the majority of the group's Shura council members voted for Mashaal. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the secret procedure.