updated 11/13/2006 6:29:57 AM ET 2006-11-13T11:29:57

A senior Hamas official confirmed Monday that the militant Palestinian group and the Fatah faction have agreed on naming Mohammed Shabir to head the next Palestinian unity government.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy to the Damascus-based Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal, told The Associated Press in the Syrian capital that the two major factions have agreed on the nomination of Shabir.

Shabir, 60, headed Gaza’s Islamic University until 2005. The U.S.-educated Shabir is considered to be close to Hamas but not an active supporter.

A senior official of another Palestinian faction other than Hamas and Fatah who is based in Damascus also confirmed the nomination. The official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the two rival factions are now discussing the makeup of the national unity government.

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