Meet Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyya and Islamic Jihad’s Ziyad al-Nahala in Tehran: A Look at Their Past and Present

Tehran was visited by the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad

On March 26, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyya and Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nahala both visited Tehran, where they met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The Hamas delegation was also received by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Haniyya was born in 1963 in the Shaati Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza. He graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza in Arabic literature and joined Hamas in 1987. After being deported to South Lebanon by Israeli authorities, he returned to the Gaza Strip a year later and became head of the Hamas government after the killings of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abd al-Aziz Rantisi. In 2017, he was elected as the new head of the Hamas politburo, and his tenure was extended in August 2021.

Al-Nahala, born in Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip, has a history as a militant involved in terrorist actions. After being released from prison in 1985, he joined Islamic Jihad and took part in the first intifada. He became Secretary General of Islamic Jihad in 2018 and is considered one of the most wanted terrorists by US authorities. His accounts have been frozen by US officials and there is a reward for information leading to his capture.

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