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8 Hamas, 'Islamic Jihad' Leaders Leave Gaza to Live Abroad

8 Hamas, 'Islamic Jihad' Leaders Leave Gaza to Live Abroad

Friday, 14 January, 2022 - 09:45
Palestinian group Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniyeh talks after meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri in Beirut, Lebanon June 28, 2021. (Reuters)

Senior leaders of Palestinian factions have left their homes in Gaza Strip and are currently living in luxury hotels in rich countries, together with their families, said intelligence sources in Israel.

According to a report by Yedioth Ahronoth, "From refugee camps to 5-star hotels," at least eight top figures from the Hamas movement and the "Islamic Jihad" left the enclave over the past year.

The first to take part in this exodus was Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ political leader abroad, who left his home in the Al-Shati Refugee Camp for the extravagant hotels in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Haniyeh justified his departure due to his candidacy for the leadership of Hamas - but the election ended a few months ago. He pressured Egyptian authorities to allow his wife and children to leave the Strip through the Rafah crossing, and they are currently living with him in opulence in Qatar, said the report.

Another key figure is Khalil al-Hayya, who until very recently served as the deputy of Hamas' leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. He left the enclave several months ago after receiving a promotion as the group’s "head of Relations for Arab and Muslim Countries."

Just like Haniyeh, Hayyah managed to get his family out of Gaza and move to Doha.

Others on the list include Salah al-Bardawil, a senior member of the group who obtained permission to leave Gaza with his family for one year; Hamas' spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri and veteran diplomatic advisor and Haniyeh’s personal deputy Taher al-Nunu.

Doha is not the only destination, with Turkey becoming the new home of Hamas top figure Fathi Hamad.

In addition, two of the Islamic Jihad’s leaders in the Gaza Strip - Nafaz Azzam and Muhammad al-Hindi, also secretly left Gaza some time ago. Azzam is in Syria and probably also in Beirut, while al-Hindi has made Istanbul his new home.

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