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Yehya Ibrahim Sinwar

Terror organization: Hamas

Status: Hamas Chief in the Gaza Strip;

Role: He has been the chief of Hamas in Gaza since February 2017, when he replaced Ismail Haniyeh;

Location: Unknown.

Born: 1962.

Known Also As: Yahya Sinwar; Yehya Sinwar; Yahya Ibrahim Hassan Sinwar;


Yahya Sinwar (Arabic: يحيى السنوار, romanized: Yaḥyá al-Sanwār, born 1962), also spelled Yehya Sinwar, is a Palestinian politician and the leader of Hamas, the Sunni Islamist political and military organization that controls the Gaza Strip. He has been the chief of Hamas in Gaza since February 2017, when he replaced Ismail Haniyeh. Yahya Sinwar was one of the co-founders of the security apparatus of Hamas.

Sinwar is a Hamas operative known for his role in founding the forerunner of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and SDGT.

Orchestrating abduction and killing of two Israeli soldiers and four Palestinians he considered to be collaborators in 1989, he was sentenced to four life sentences by Israel, of which he served 22 years until his release among 1,026 others in a 2011 prisoner exchange with an Israeli soldier. In 2017, he was elected as Hamas’ leader, and claimed to pursue “peaceful, popular resistance” the following year, a position which was later abandoned. He was re-elected as Hamas leader in 2021, and was subject to an assassination attempt by Israel that year.

He was arrested by Israel in 1988 for his terrorist activity.

Sinwar was later released from prison in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Sinwar was serving four life sentences for the abduction and murder of two Israeli soldiers in the late 1980s.

He is considered to be one of the most senior and prominent prisoners to be exchanged, and has called on militants to capture more Israeli soldiers.

In September 2015, Sinwar was designated a terrorist by the United States government, and Hamas and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades have also been designated terrorist organisations by the United States, the European Union and other countries and organisations.

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