Amidst the recent surge of conflict between Hamas and Israel, it is crucial to understand the key figures driving the actions of this Sunni-Islamist militant organization, which is designated as a terrorist group by multiple nations. Let’s delve into the leaders and prominent individuals within Hamas who are shaping the course of this ongoing conflict.
1. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin: The founding figure of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was a Palestinian cleric who established the group in 1987 during the First Intifada. Yassin, a paraplegic who used a wheelchair, served as Hamas’s early leader, aiming to counter the influence of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
2. Salah Shehade: One of the early military leaders of Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, Shehade played a significant role in the organization’s early years. He was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike in 2002.
3. Mohammed Deif: The chief of Hamas’ military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, and mastermind behind the recent attacks. Deif, known for staying hidden, has been targeted by Israel multiple times and has designed the signature Qassam rocket.
4. Abu Obaida: The spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obaida is known for his anonymity, never revealing his true identity. He surfaced in 2006 when announcing the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
5. Ismail Haniyeh: The main political leader of Hamas, Haniyeh is based in Doha, Qatar. He was born in a refugee camp and has played a prominent role in Hamas’ leadership. Haniyeh condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
6. Mahmoud Zahar: A co-founder of Hamas and a senior leader based in the Gaza Strip, Zahar played a vital role in Hamas’ development. He has been targeted by Israel, spent time in jail, and survived an assassination attempt.
7. Abd al-Fattah Dukhan (Abu Osama): A founding member of Hamas, Dukhan helped write the group’s charter and was killed in an Israeli airstrike.
8. Zachariah Abu Ma’amar: Part of Hamas’ senior forum, Abu Ma’amar was involved in decision-making and planning terror activities against Israel. He was known for inciting violence against Israel.
9. Jawad Abu Shamala: As Hamas’s economy minister, Abu Shamala was responsible for managing the group’s finances and funding terrorist activities. He held various security positions in Hamas.
10. Ziyad al-Nakhalah: Leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), al-Nakhalah has strong ties with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and is a designated terrorist in the United States. The PIJ is known to receive funding from Iran and Syria.
Understanding the individuals steering Hamas is essential to comprehend the complex dynamics and motivations behind the organization’s actions in the ongoing conflict.”