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Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians: Biography of Ahmad Yasin
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Posted on November 12, 2000

Yasin, Ahmad
Spiritual leader of Hamas
Born in al-Jura near Asqalan (Hebrew Ashkelon), Yasin and his family fled to the GAZA STRIP as a result of the ARAB-ISRAELI WAR OF 1948. After teacher training, Yasin worked as a teacher in Gaza from 1957 to 1964. He later studied at Ayn Shams University in Egypt in 1964-65 but was returned to Gaza by Egyptian authorities because of his involvement with the Society of the Muslim Brotherhood. He continued working as a teacher after the Israeli Occupation of Gaza in 1967 until his retirement in 1984. He is addressed by the title al-Shaykh as a sign of religious respect.

Yasin had become the leading Islamic militant in the Occupied Territories by the 1980s. He was a key figure in the establishment of the Islamic Center in Gaza, the open expression of the underground Muslim Brotherhood, in 1973. He eventually ran afoul of Israeli occupation authorities and was imprisoned in April 1984. Released as part of a prisoner exchange in May 1985, he went on to establish the influential Islamic resistance group HAMAS during the INTIFADA in August 1988. Yasin was imprisoned once again by the Israelis in May 1989. The ailing shaykh was released on October 1, 1997, and flown to Jordan for medical treatment as part of a deal whereby Jordan released two captured Israeli intelligence operatives who had tried to assassinate a Hamas leader in Jordan several days earlier. Yasin returned five days later to a hero's welcome.

As of March 22nd, 2004 Ahamad Yasin and his two sons were assasinated in Gaza City by the Israeli Army soon after their morning prayer.

Michael R. Fischbach

The above was quoted from Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians edited by Philip Mattar


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