Who Was Abd al-Fattah Dukhan? Founding Member of Hamas Responsible for Recent Weekend Attack Killed in Israeli Airstrike: Report

The prominent member was eliminated in Gaza's central Nuseirat neighborhood, according to Israel's KAN public broadcaster, citing Palestinian sources.

A key figure in Hamas, the terrorist outfit responsible for the recent deaths of over 1,200 people, including babies, during the weekend violence, has reportedly been killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Tuesday, according to local reports. Abd al-Fattah Dukhan, also known as "Abu Osama," was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces in the central Gaza Strip.

The prominent member was eliminated in Gaza's central Nuseirat neighborhood, according to Israel's KAN public broadcaster, citing Palestinian sources. Two other high-ranking Hamas leaders, Zachariah Abu Ma'amar and Jawad Abu Shamala, were also reportedly killed, in the overnight airstrikes over Gaza on Tuesday the IDF said, according to Israel National News.

Israel Kills Hamas Leaders

Abd al-Fattah Dukhan
Abd al-Fattah Dukhan X

Dukhan, previously a school principal at the al-Nusayrat refugee camp, was a participant in a 1987 offshoot meeting of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was during this gathering that Hamas was formed by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian residing in Gaza.

Abu Ma'amar played a significant role in the decision-making and planning of terrorist activities against Israel within the organization. On the other hand, Abu Shamala held the position of Hamas' Economy Minister.

Abd al-Fattah Dukhan
Abd al-Fattah Dukhan X

Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, holds governance over Gaza, a coastal strip approximately 25 miles long along the Mediterranean, with a population exceeding two million people.

It also has a presence in the West Bank, a larger region with a mix of Palestinian and Israeli settlements under Israeli military control.

Since its formation, Hamas has been steadfast in its objective to eliminate the Jewish state and establish an Islamic state in its stead. The group has consistently employed terrorist methods against Israelis, including acts of mass violence, rocket attacks, suicide bombings, and abductions.

Hamas assumed control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after taking over the territory from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority.

Abd al-Fattah Dukhan
Abd al-Fattah Dukhan X

The United States and several other Western nations designated Hamas as a terrorist organization in 1997.

The conflict involving Hamas has resulted in the deaths of at least 1,200 Israelis due to their attacks, and an estimated 1,050 Palestinians have lost their lives in retaliatory actions.

What Is Hamas? Who Funds It?

Although Hamas was formed in the 1980s, the journey had begun in 1978. That year, after getting released from prison, Yassin established an organization with large number of followers, which came to be known as 'Islamic Compound'.

He also managed to win support and collaborated with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups across Gaza, Hebron, Nablus and Jerusalem.

It wasn't till the late 1980s when Hamas came into prominence. Till then it was recognized as a small terror outfit that would make occasional attacks on Israel operating from Gaza.

As strife between Israel and Palestine continued to soar, with Palestine taking resort to the First Intifada, or uprising, in December 1987, Hamas as an organization led by Sunni-Islamic fundamentalists, began to gain prominence.

Hamas beheads babies

Yassin by this time had proclaimed himself as the founder of the group and was the undisputed leader of the outfit. He took this opportunity to collaborate with others leaders from Islamic University in Gaza like Sheikh Salah Shehada, Issa Al Nasshaar, an engineer from Rafiah and Abdul Fattah Dokhan, a headmaster among others to further strengthen Hamas. Together their call now was "Right! Force! Freedom", wrote Chehab.

However, even then Hamas struggled to gain prominence as a dreaded group for the Israeli military. This was because among the many protesting Palestinian groups, Hamas was able to fill only the political space left by Yaseer Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which "moved towards the path of a diplomatic settlement", journalist Anton La Guardia wrote in his book, Holy Land, Unholy War: Israelis and Palestinians.

Although Hamas initially tried to fill the political space left by Arafat, the group has been opposed to PLO since its inception. According to La Guardia's book, Hamas believes only in Jihad. "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad (holy war)," Hamas said in the book.

Much of Hamas' ideology and war tactics are "imported" from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group. The group believes in hitting civilian targets and not military installations and that is what they have been doing this time also.

Hamas executing hostages
The four hostages seen executed by Hamas X

Yassin was assassinated in 2004 in an Israeli attack and his death resulted in the group's jihad gathering further steam. He was soon succeeded by his deputy Abdel Aziz Ali Abdul Majid al-Rantisi, also known as the 'Lion of Palestine'.

Since 2005, when Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza, Hamas has also engaged in the Palestinian political process. It won the legislative elections in 2006, before reinforcing its power in Gaza the following year by ousting the rival Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas. And since then Hamas has been a force to reckon with.

Hamas is presently led by Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh, who heads the group's political wing and is considered to be a "close aide" of Yassin.