Hamas and Islamic Jihad Leaders Visit Tehran to Strengthen Ties with Iran’s Government: What You Need to Know

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders make diplomatic visit to Tehran

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyya and Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ziyad al-Nahala recently visited Tehran, where they met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Haniyya, born in 1963 in the Shaati Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza, joined the Hamas resistance movement in 1987 after graduating from the Islamic University of Gaza. He was later deported by Israeli authorities to South Lebanon but returned to Gaza a year later and became one of the closest assistants to Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. After Yassin’s death and that of his successor Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, Haniyya became head of the Hamas government in Gaza. In May 2017, he was elected as the new head of the Hamas Politburo after Khalid Meshal resigned. His tenure as head of the Hamas Politburo has been extended for another four years, and he currently lives in Doha (Qatar).

Ziyad al-Nahala was born in 1953 in Khan Yunis, a city in southern Gaza Strip. As a teenager, he was detained several times by Israeli military and intelligence services for extremist activities. He was sentenced to life imprisonment as an Arab Liberation Front militant involved in terrorist attacks and released on May 21, 1985 as part of the “Jibril deal.” After his release from prison, he joined Islamic Jihad and formed its military wing called Al-Quds Brigade. He took part in the first intifada as a brigade commander. He was arrested in April 1988 and deported to Lebanon before becoming deputy secretary general of Islamic Jihad in 1995. In September 2018, he became Secretary General of Islamic Jihad after Ramadan Shalah fell ill.

Both leaders have been accused of supporting terrorism by various governments around the world. However, they maintain that their organizations are fighting for freedom and justice for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. The visit to Tehran marks an important opportunity for both leaders to strengthen their relationship with Iran and potentially gain support for their causes from Tehran’s powerful government officials.

Israeli sources report that at the same time as Haniya met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during his visit to Tehran on March 26th.

Haniyya is known for his close ties with Iran and is believed to have received significant support from Tehran during his time leading Hamas.

Al-Nahala also has close ties with Iran, which provides him with financial support through its sponsorship of Islamic Jihad.

The visit marks a significant moment for both leaders as they look towards strengthening their relationship with Iran while continuing their efforts towards achieving their respective goals.

Ismail Haniyya has been living in Doha (Qatar) since recent years

Sophia Reynolds

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