Orders from an air-conditioned room: Hamas leaders scattered throughout Middle East

According to IDF intelligence, about a quarter of Hamas leadership live outside Gaza; a rundown of the key figures

Israeli military intelligence revealed on Monday the identities of high-ranking Hamas officials who orchestrate terrorism activities in the Gaza Strip from abroad. Noteworthy higher-ups include Ismail Haniyeh, who serves as the chairman of the organization; Khaled Mashal, the leader of the external wing of the group; and Saleh al-Arouri, who is the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau.
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IDF intelligence suggests high-ranking Hamas officials, who are located overseas, are involved in activities such as fundraising, guiding terrorists, and forging international ties, to further the objectives of their organization. Hamas maintains formal offices where its top leaders operate, with their operations spread across three primary regions: the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and various overseas locations. Som of the group's leaders are serving time in Israeli prisons.
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שר החוץ של איראן חוסיין אמיר עבדאללהיאן נפגש בקטאר עם מנהיג חמאס איסמעיל הנייה
שר החוץ של איראן חוסיין אמיר עבדאללהיאן נפגש בקטאר עם מנהיג חמאס איסמעיל הנייה
Hamas chief Haniyeh meets Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahianin Qatar
(Photo: West Asia News Agency)
Information provided by the IDF's Intelligence Division suggests that Hamas' overseas leadership is actively involved in terrorism activities across four key regions: Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar, and Iran and one-fourth of the members of Hamas' political bureau are located in these four countries. As per the IDF, these members exert their influence over the organization's activities from a distance, away from actual conflict zones.
Ismail Haniyeh, 61 holds the position of chairman of the movement and leads the Hamas political bureau, frequently traveling between Istanbul and Doha. In 1989, Haniyeh was detained in Israel for a period of three years, after which he was banished to Marj al-Zohour, located on the Lebanon border, alongside various other leaders from the organization. Subsequently, he made his return to Gaza and was elected to replace Khaled Mashal as the head of the Hamas political bureau. The estimated net worth of Haniyeh is said to be around $4 billion.
The 57-year-old Saleh al-Arouri, who holds the second highest position in Hamas, serves as the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau. Additionally, he oversees the actions of the organization's military wing in the West Bank. Currently, he resides in Beirut, Lebanon. In the past, al-Arouri spent 15 years incarcerated in Israeli prisons, after which he was expelled from the country. He participated in negotiations with Israeli representatives to finalize the prison swap to release Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for five years. He was alsp implicated in the abduction and subsequent killing of three high school students in 2014: Gil-ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach, which prompted a round of fighting with Gaza, lasting 51 days.
At the age of 58, Khaled Mashal directs the overseas operations of Hamas, specifically outside of Gaza and the regions of the West Bank. Like Haniyeh, Mashal primarily operates out of Istanbul and Doha. He dedicated about 21 years of his life to serving as the head of Hamas' political bureau and is also one of its founding members. In a 1997 Mashal narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Mossad in Jordan. His net worth is estimated to be around $5 billion.
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חאלד משעל
חאלד משעל
Once survived a Mossad assassination attempt
(Photo: AP Photo/Osama Faisal, File)
Musa Abu Marzouk, aged 72, holds the position of deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, serving under Haniyeh. His primary sphere of influence lies along the Damascus-Cairo axis. In 1992, Abu Marzouk led the political bureau of the movement. However, he was later expelled from Jordan when it was discovered that during the 90s, he had funneled money from the United States to fund terrorist activities. His brother Yosef Abu Marzouk was killed in a bombing strike on an industrial building in Rafah. Abu Marzouk's estimated net worth stands at roughly $3 billion.
Khalil al-Hayya, aged 63, holds the position of the head of the communications office for Hamas and serves as the deputy to Yahya Sinwar, who leads the organization in Gaza. Al-Hayya's past includes a three-year stint in an Israeli prison and he has survived multiple attempts on his life. These assassination attempts led to the death of nineteen of his family members. Currently, al-Hayya resides in Qatar.
Izzat al-Rishq, also 63, is in charge of the Arab and Islamic Relations Office within Hamas. He is a resident of Qatar and holds a position within the movement's political bureau.
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Gaza's Hamas Chief Yehya Al-Sinwar talks to media, in Gaza City
Gaza's Hamas Chief Yehya Al-Sinwar talks to media, in Gaza City
Gaza's Hamas Chief Yahya Sinwar talks to media, in Gaza City
(Photo: Reuters)
Razi Hamad, another member of the Hamas political bureau, is 59 years old and lives in Qatar. His past roles within the organization include serving as the deputy foreign minister and the spokesperson for the Hamas government. He also acted as an advisor to Ismail Haniyeh and the late Ahmed Jabari, who was the former chief of staff for Hamas until his death in 2012.
Hamad played a key role as a mediator for Hamas in the Shalit deal and is recognized as one of the more pragmatic leaders within the movement. In a recent interview conducted in Lebanon, Hamad openly boasted about the October 7 massacre, even going so far as to pledge a repeat of such actions.
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