New Delhi: Hamas, the militant organization responsible for launching a rocket assault on Israel on Saturday morning, has inflicted a devastating terror attack in the southern and central regions of Israel, resulting in a tragic loss of over 400 lives, with the death toll steadily rising.
In the wake of this unexpected attack on Israel, numerous questions have emerged in the minds of many: What exactly is Hamas? Who leads this group? And why did Hamas launch this assault on Israel? Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization and is one of the two prominent political parties in the Palestinian territories.
What Is Hamas?
Hamas, an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, or the “Islamic Resistance Movement,” was established by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Yassin, a Palestinian cleric, transitioned from his early years spent on Islamic scholarship in Cairo to become an activist in local branches of the Muslim Brotherhood. In December 1987, Yassin founded Hamas as the political arm of the Brotherhood in Gaza, coinciding with the outbreak of the first intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli control over the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. In 1988, Hamas released its charter, advocating for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic society in historic Palestine.
Who Is the Current Leader of Hamas?
Ismail Abdulsalam Ahmed Haniya was elected as the leader of Hamas on May 6, 2017, succeeding the longtime leader Khaled Meshaal. Haniya was born in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza to parents who had fled Asqalan after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. He pursued his education at the al-Azhar Institute in Gaza and earned a degree in Arabic literature from the Islamic University in Gaza. During his university years in 1983, Haniya joined the Islamic Student Bloc, a precursor to Hamas. In 1987, the same year he graduated, the First Intifada began, and Hamas was officially founded.