BEIRUT: The militant Hezbollah group has announced that Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has been re-elected unanimously the Shia Muslim group’s leader for a sixth term.

A Hezbollah statement did not say when the group’s top officials voted to re-elect Mr. Nasrallah, who has held the post since an Israeli helicopter gunship killed his predecessor, Sheik Abbas Musawi.

Naim Kassim also has been re-elected Mr. Nasrallah’s deputy. Hezbollah’s leadership elections are usually held every three years but they were last held in 2004. A Hezbollah official said the two-year delay was caused by internal Lebanese differences and the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war.

Mr. Nasrallah (49) is a strong U.S. critic which lists his group as a terrorist organisation. Under his leadership, Hezbollah became active in internal Lebanese politics and the group now has two Cabinet Ministers and holds 11 of Parliament’s 128 seats.

Founded in 1982, Hezbollah has over the years grown to run a network of interests — clinics, schools, a TV station and a weekly newspaper. — AP