Welcome to Yehya Sinwar, the new Hamas leader:
A Palestinian terrorist with multiple murder convictions has been elected as Hamas’ new political leader in the Gaza Strip, an official for the Islamist group confirmed on Monday.
Yehya Sinwar, in his mid 50s, is an influential and unpredictable hardliner who helped found the al-Majd intelligence unit, an early prototype of Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, The New York Times reported. He was sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli court in 1989 for killing Palestinians suspected of working with the IDF, but continued directing terrorist attacks while incarcerated. He was released in a 2011 prisoner swap to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and added to the U.S. terrorism blacklist in 2015.
At the time of the prisoner swap, Sinwar was “most senior prisoner released, and clearly destined for leadership,” the Times noted. Since returning to Gaza, Sinwar has “consolidated his power and his harsh reputation.” He is believed to have orchestrated the arrest, torture, and eventual execution of Mahmoud Ishtiwi, a senior figure in the al-Qassam Brigades....
Dr. Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said Sinwar “represents the most radical and extreme line of Hamas.”
“He’s affiliated with Iran. He’s supported by Iran. And he prefers the Iranian axis and the cooperation with ISIS in Sinai,” Michael added. “And I think that the idea that he was elected is something that indicates, a sort of, I would say, winning of the extremist and the radical line in Hamas.”