Meet the 14 men nominated to lead Hamas, the armed Islamic group to the West Bank

1. Born on Aug. 25, 1962, in Sohag, on the Palestinian side of the West Bank. 2. Attended al-Ansar school in Deir al-Balah in the West Bank, and became a member of the Popular…

Meet the 14 men nominated to lead Hamas, the armed Islamic group to the West Bank

1. Born on Aug. 25, 1962, in Sohag, on the Palestinian side of the West Bank.

2. Attended al-Ansar school in Deir al-Balah in the West Bank, and became a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist group responsible for some of the deadliest attacks of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

3. Raised as a member of the Shiite Muslim community and participated in the Shiite Holy War against Israel.

4. From 1980 to 1981, he served as a lead operative in what would become Hamas.

5. Raised in exile, he and his family were granted political asylum in Iran.

6. From 1979 to 1985, he served as the head of the Scientific and Technical Committee for the Tehran branch of Hamas. He would oversee the education of the Palestinian gunmen who, in 1981, led a gunbattle that killed 65 people at the UN headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

7. In a 1988 interview with the Iranian news agency Fars, he said he was offered to become a martyr but declined. “It is better for the Islamic nation to adopt a moderate line in [the struggle with Israel] in order to give the Islamic nation its rights and thwart plans for a coup d’état in the territories occupied by the Israelis, and to materialize our future plan in the territories liberated from the Israelis so that there will be a cease-fire, a political end to the Israeli aggression and an end to the siege against the Palestinian people.”

8. According to Arab sources, Hamas broke away from the Islamic Jihad group in 1993, as the two groups continued to wage battle against Israel.

9. Through various organizations, including the Islamic Jihad, Hamas carried out a series of attacks that have killed at least 220 Israeli civilians and soldiers.

10. In a 1999 interview with Business Day in London, he rejected the Islamic Jihad’s declaration of Jihad and claimed that it was actually a tool of Israel. “They had been pretending to represent Muslims who reject terrorism. But they are used by the American administration and Israel to claim that Hamas is an Islamic militant organization. They deceive the Western public in order to prevent other nations from following the [Islamic] fundamentalism of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

11. In his recent post as a member of the Islamist group, he has not been as active in terrorist attacks.

12. Hamas Chairman Khaled Mashaal delivered a message in January urging its members to seek Hamas’ formation of a unity government.

13. In June 2009, he served as the group’s point man for dealing with the Egyptian government.

14. In the mid-2000s, he began to push for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, which he helped to negotiate. He has also shown sympathy for other Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, saying that their detention was “very difficult for us in terms of ideology, politics and media.”

15. In February 2012, his job ended.

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