Esmail Haniya confirmed on Sunday that he had been chosen by Hamas to be its candidate for the post of Palestinian prime minister.

Born: 1963, Shati refugee Camp, Gaza.

Education: Graduated from the Islamic University in Gaza in 1987, with a degree in Arabic language.

Experience: He served in administrative positions in the Islamic University in Gaza. Was a tope aide to Hamas founder Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

Haniya was expelled by Israel to south Lebanon in 1992, returned to Gaza a year later. He served as a liaison between Hamas and Palestinian National Authority. He escaped an Israeli assassination attempt in June 2003.

Family: Married, 11 children.

Quote: "The Europeans and Americans want to tell Hamas that you can keep one of two: weapons or the legislative council. We say weapons and the legislative council, and there is no contradiction." January 25, the day Hamas swept the parliamentary elections.