10 Facts To Know About The New Leader of Hamas

Shevat 17, 5777

February 13, 2017



Yahya Sinwar: the new Hamas leader in Gaza.

Yahya Sinwar: the new Hamas leader in Gaza (picture Times of Israel).

In a shocking internal Hamas election yesterday, Yahya Sanwar was elected to replace Ismail Haniyeh as the head of Hamas in Gaza (Haniyeh is attempting to replace Khaled Meshaal as head of the political side of Hamas). Those voting in Hamas internal elections include Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Hamas terrorists in Israeli prisons, Hamas terrorists in Judea and Samaria, and Hamas terrorists in “exile.”

Sanwar advocates violent resistance to Israel and abhors any cooperation with what he calls “the Zionist entity.” He is considered the leader of the most extreme part of the terrorist organization and openly supports attacks on Israel, abductions of Israeli soldiers, and affiliation with Islamic State. Khalil Al-Haya, a fellow extremist, will be his deputy.

1. Sanwar (alt. spelling Sinwar) was born in 1956 in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

2. His family was renowned for its militancy–not only against Israel but also against Egypt (which occupied Gaza during Sanwar’s early life).

3. Sanwar apparently (not clear) attended college in Gaza, majoring in Arabic.

4. During these formative years, Sanwar developed an extremely ascetic lifestyle.

5. Eventually Sanwar founded Majd, the Hamas intelligence services established to root out Palestinian collaborators.

6. He was captured by Israeli forces in 1988, and sentenced to life in prison in 1989; his crimes: overseeing the abductions and murder of two Israeli soldiers, and personally murdering at least 15 Palestinians accused of collaboration.

7. Sanwar was in prison for 22 years during which time he charismatically attracted other prisoners.

8. While in prison, Sanwar was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and was operated on and saved by Israeli doctors.

9. Sanwar was released in the 2011 prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit–a prisoner exchange that he adamantly opposed because he said it was a capitulation to Israel; a number of his fellow releasees remained in his orbit and have assumed positions of power in Gaza.

10. Since 2011, Sanwar has ruthlessly consolidated his power within the military wing of Hamas and has continued to exhibit unpredictable bursts of violence that have caused all of those in Gaza including Hamas members to fear him.

What is the bottom line? Almost certainly, war with Hamas is coming again . . . and soon.

*Please note that elements of today’s blog were taken from Times of Israel, Ynet, Jpost, and Arutz Sheva.


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