Abdel Aziz Al Rantissi
Palestinian physician and political activist.
Like Shaikh Ahmed Yassin, his predecessor as leader of Hamas, Dr Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi owed his fame and popularity more to Israel's harsh and unjust treatment of activists opposed to its occupation of Palestinian land than to political prominence.
Dr al-Rantissi caught world media attention in 1992 on the bare, snowy heights, into no man's land near Marj a-Zuhur where he was exiled among 416 Palestinians by Israeli government. He became the spokesman and the leader of the exiled group.
Dr al-Rantissi became popular for organising a welfare network and helping many families as a physician, emerging as a local, social-political leader what became known as Hamas. After the triumphant return of Shaikh Yassin to the Gaza Strip in 1997, Dr al-Rantissi worked closely with the Shaikh to restore hierarchic command and to reinforce cadre uniformity within reorganised Hamas. His popularity increased during the intifada of 2001.
Dr al-Rantissi was killed by an Israeli Air Force missile strike while he was driving through Gaza City.
Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi was born near Jaffa and he was only over a year old when his family fled to the safety of the Gaza Strip among thousands of Palestinian families driven out by underground Jewish terrorists.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan