Khalil al-Hayya is a senior Hamas politician who was elected deputy leader of the group’s politburo in internal elections in February 2017. In those elections, Hamas leadership elected Yahya Sinwar as overall political chief in the Gaza Strip, replacing Ismail Haniyeh.“Yehya al-Sinwar elected head of Hamas political bureau in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya his deputy,” Middle East Observer, February 13, 2017, https://www.middleeastobserver.org/2017/02/13/31229yehya-al-sinwar-elected-head-of-hamas-political-bureau-in-gaza-khalil-al-hayya-his-deputy/. Before Hayya assumed the position of deputy leader, he served as head of Hamas’s parliamentary bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council.Adnan Abu Amer, “Exclusive: Hamas Official Discusses Decline of Iranian Support,” Al-Monitor, June 23, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/tr/originals/2013/06/hamas-interview-hayya-gaza-iran-hezbollah-support.html.
Hayya has served as a senior figure in Hamas since at least 2006. That year—amid tension between Hamas and the West Bank-based Fatah—Hayya told a rally in Gaza City that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was “… launching [a war], first against God, and then against Hamas.”“Hamas and Fatah trade fire in power struggle,” Guardian, December 15, 2006, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/dec/15/israel1. In 2007, Hayya lost seven members of his family in an Israeli assassination.Adnan Abu Amer, “Exclusive: Hamas Official Discusses Decline of Iranian Support,” Al-Monitor, June 23, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/tr/originals/2013/06/hamas-interview-hayya-gaza-iran-hezbollah-support.html.
Hayya’s views on Iran—specifically in regard to its funding of Hamas—have shifted over time. In a 2010 interview, Hayya told the website of Hamas’s military wing—the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades—that “Iran supports [Hamas] financially, politically and morally,” without Hamas having to pay a “political price.”“An exclusive interview with Hamas leader Dr. Khalil Al Hayya,” Al-Qassam, January 22, 2010, http://www.qassam.ps/interview-2305-An_exclusive_interview_with_Hamas_leader_Dr_Khalil_Al_Hayya.html. In a 2013 interview with Al-Monitor, however, Hayya indicated that Iran’s funding of Hamas had declined because it had indeed come with a “political price,” whereas “Qatar, for example, plays a significant role in supporting the Palestinian cause…[and] this support does not come with any political price.” Hayya noted at the time that “[Hamas was] trying to find new alternatives that would compensate” for a shortage of funds.Adnan Abu Amer, “Exclusive: Hamas Official Discusses Decline of Iranian Support,” Al-Monitor, June 23, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/tr/originals/2013/06/hamas-interview-hayya-gaza-iran-hezbollah-support.html.
Date of Birth
Place of birth
Gaza Strip (suspected)
Place of residence
Gaza Strip (suspected)
In December 2016, Hayya attended a celebration commemorating the 29th anniversary of Hamas’s founding. During the event, he ceremoniously handed his grandchildren the sword of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, saying it was “the sword of da’wa, of liberation, and of victory,” and that it should be “[passed] down to the next generation of men, women, boys, and girls.”“Hamas MP Khalil Al-Hayya Hands His Grandchildren Ahmed Yassin's 'Sword of Liberation' in Ceremony Marking Organization's 29th Anniversary,” MMEMRI, December 14, 2016, https://www.memri.org/tv/hamas-mp-khalil-al-hayya-hands-his-grandchildren-ahmed-yassins-sword-liberation-ceremony-marking/transcript.
HELP COUNTER EXTREMISM