Who is Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi?

By SAUD ABU RAMADAN, United Press International

GAZA, April 17 (UPI) -- Abdel Aziz Mohamed Al-Rantisi, the new nominated leader of Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip was killed on April 17, in a car explosion together with two of his bodyguards and his son.

Rantisi was born on October 23, 1947 in the town of Yebna, or what the Israelis call Yavneh, south of Tel Aviv. His family fled to the Gaza Strip and became refugees during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war when the state of Israel was established. Rantisi was six months old in that time.


He grew up among nine brothers and two sisters in the refugee camp of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip where he earned his elementary, preparatory and secondary education at the United States schools in Khan Younis.

Rantisi graduated from a medicine school in Alexandria, Egypt in 1972, and then earned a master degree from the same college majoring in infants' therapy, where he worked as a physician at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in 1976.

Married and father of six children, and he was elected as a member of Gaza Islamic society or Al Mujama'a, that was established by Sheik Ahmed Yassin, and members of the Arab Doctors Association and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.


He worked at the college of Nursing at the Islamic University of Gaza since 1978 as well as the college of science and biology.

He was detained by Israel in 1983 after he refused to pay taxes to the Israeli army civil administration that was governing the Gaza Strip at that time, where he led the first general strike in the Gaza Strip.

He is one of the founders of Islamic resistance movement Hamas that was established in December 1987 in the Gaza Strip, and then he was detained by Israel in 1988 and spent two and a half years in Israeli jails for being a founder and a member of Hamas during the first Palestinian intifada.

He was deported to south Lebanon by late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1992 together with 425 activists and leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and returned back to Israeli jail in 1993, where he stayed in jail until 1997.

He was imprisoned three times by the Palestinian Authority security forces, where he spent about 15 months in Palestinian jails. He was released after his mother's death.

The Palestinian police tried twice to arrest him from his house, but failed after hundreds of Palestinians confronted them.


He escaped an assassination attempt in 2003, in which his son was critically wounded.

Rantisi is a writer and a poet and wrote several poems. He has a website where he posted his writing about Hamas and the Palestinian cause.

On March 24, he was chosen by Hamas leadership to replace Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the movement that was assassinated on March 22 by Israeli helicopters' missile as he was leaving the mosque after dawn prayers in Gaza City.

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