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Ismail Haniyeh

Terror organization: Hamas

Status: Current chairman of Hamas’s political bureau;

Role: Palestinian politician who is a senior political leader of Hamas, the current chairman of Hamas’s political bureau; as of 2023, Haniyeh lives in Qatar;

Location: Qatar;

Born: 29 January 1962;

Place of Birth: Shati refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Palestine;

Gender: Male;

Known also as: Ismail Hanieh; Ismael Haniya; Ismail Haniya; Ismael Haniyah; Ismail Haniyah; Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh; Ismayil Haniyeh; Ismail Haniyyah;


Ismail Haniyeh is the leader and President of the Political Bureau of Hamas, which was designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks.

Haniyeh is also considered one of the most prominent figures in Hamas. He was elected to be the group’s political chief in May 2017, replacing Khaled Meshaal.

Haniyeh has close links with Hamas military wing and has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians. He has reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.

Ismail Haniyeh was born on January 29, 1962, in the Al-Shāṭiʾ refugee camp in Gaza Strip. He is a Palestinian politician and a prominent leader of Hamas.

Haniyeh received his primary education in institutions managed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

He started studying Arabic literature at the Islamic University of Gaza in 1981. He was also a prominent figure in a student association linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, participating actively in student politics.

In 1988, Haniyeh was arrested by Israeli authorities for joining the first uprising against Israeli control, also known as the first intifada. He spent six months in jail and was arrested again in 1989 and remained in prison until 1992 when Israel deported him and about 400 other Islamists to south Lebanon. The first Intifada began in 1987 and lasted till 1993, the uprising against Israeli occupation of West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem witnessed massive protests and even suicide bombings.

Ismail Haniyeh’s political journey includes serving as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) from 2006 to 2007, a tenure that began after Hamas secured a suprising majority of seats in the 2006 Palestinian legislative council elections.

He took on the role of leading the de facto government in Gaza from 2007 to 2014 after an internal strife with rival Fatah, which now governs in West Bank, leading to the disbandment of the government and the formation of an independent Hamas-led administration in the Gaza Strip. Later, in 2017, he was appointed to take over from Khaled Meshaal as the head of Hamas’s political bureau.

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