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Key Facts About Hamas Founder Yassin JERUSALEM (AP) - Key facts about Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin, who was killed in an Israeli helicopter missile strike Monday. Yassin born in what is today the coastal Israeli city of Ash
Key Facts About Hamas Founder Yassin
JERUSALEM (AP) - Key facts about Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed
Yassin, who was killed in an Israeli helicopter missile strike Monday.
Yassin born in what is today the coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon. His
Palestinian passport listed his date of birth as Jan. 1, 1929, but Yassin
claimed he was born in 1938.
1948: Yassin family uprooted in creation of the state of Israel. Yassin grows
up in Gaza refugee camps. At age 12 is paralyzed in sporting accident. He later
raises 11 children in three-room apartment in Gaza City slum.
1987: Yassin founds Hamas from ranks of Muslim Brotherhood religious
organization. Hamas soon emerges as strongest political rival to mainstream
Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Hamas opposes peace talks
with Israel. Carries out scores of suicide bombings, killing hundreds of
Israelis, to thwart peace agreements negotiated by Arafat and his supporters.
1989: Yassin arrested in mass roundup of nearly 200 Hamas members. Sentenced to
life in prison for ordering attacks on Israeli soldiers and on Palestinians
suspected of collaborating with Israel. The quadriplegic Yassin suffers from
various illnesses in jail, including chronic bronchitis and eye and ear
1997: Israel frees Yassin in exchange for two agents from Israel's Mossad spy
agency held by Jordan after botched attempt on life of another Hamas leader
2000: With breakdown of peace talks and outbreak of new Israeli-Palestinian
fighting, Hamas and other militant groups step up campaign of suicide bombings,
killing more than 450 people during fighting that has lasted more than three
2003: In response to suicide bombings, Israel intensifies targeted killings of
militants and declares top Hamas leaders "marked for death."
Sept. 6, 2003: Israeli air force drops 550-pound bomb on Gaza building where
Hamas leaders had gathered; Yassin escapes with a small wound on his hand.
Jan. 30 2004: Yassin says Hamas making every effort to kidnap Israeli soldiers
to use as bargaining chips for release of Palestinians in Israeli jails.
March 22, 2004: Helicopter launches three missiles, instantly killing Yassin as
he leaves a mosque after morning prayers.
03/22/04 03:18 EST