Moussa Mohammed Abu Marzouk is a senior member of Hamas’s political bureau and deputy leader of Hamas’s Diaspora Office.“Hamas elects former head Khaled Meshal as diaspora chief,” New Arab, April 13, 2021, https://www.newarab.com/news/hamas-elects-former-head-khaled-meshal-diaspora-chief. Marzouk is a founding member of Hamas who previously served as its deputy chair under former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.“Moussa Abu Marzouk,” European Council on Foreign Relations, accessed November 17, 2023, https://ecfr.eu/special/mapping_palestinian_politics/moussa_abu_marzouk/; Associated Press, “AP Interview: Hamas No. 2 Rejects Gaza Arm Halt,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 2012, http://web.archive.org/web/20121124150524/http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/AP-Interview-Hamas-No-2-rejects-Gaza-arms-halt-4063103.php; “Mousa Abu Marzook,” Hamas, accessed November 16, 2018, http://hamas.ps/en/politicalofficemember/24/mousa-abu-marzook. Marzouk has been an outspoken advocate of Hamas’s insistence on maintaining its weapons and the group’s refusal to recognize Israel.Associated Press, “AP Interview: Hamas No. 2 rejects Gaza arms halt,” San Francisco Gate, November 24, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20121124150524/http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/AP-Interview-Hamas-No-2-rejects-Gaza-arms-halt-4063103.php; Adnan Abu Amer, “Hamas’ Abu Marzouk says recognizing Israel a ‘red line,’” Al-Monitor, May 5, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/interview-abu-marzouk-hamas-israel-fatah-reconciliation.html. At one point, Marzouk had been considered as a replacement for Meshaal.Alon Diamant-Cohen, “Abu Marzouk said set to replace Mashaal as Hamas leader-in-exile,” Times of Israel, September 24, 2012, https://www.timesofisrael.com/abu-marzouk-said-set-to-replace-mashaal-as-hamas-leader-in-exile/. Marzouk lost a May 2017 Hamas election to replace Meshaal and has since continued to serve as a senior member of the group’s political bureau.“Ismail Haniyeh elected new Hamas chief,” Hurriyet Daily News, May 6, 2017, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ismail-haniyeh-elected-new-hamas-chief-112803; “Mousa Abu Marzook,” Hamas, accessed November 16, 2018, http://hamas.ps/en/politicalofficemember/24/mousa-abu-marzook.
Marzouk coordinated and financed Hamas activities while living in the United States between 1988 and 1993. “Second Superseding Indictment,” United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, August 2, 2003, http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/indict/2004/marzook_et_al.pdf. He operated numerous U.S. bank accounts from which he disbursed money to foreign accounts in support of Hamas's activities. “Second Superseding Indictment,” United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, August 2, 2003, http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/indict/2004/marzook_et_al.pdf. He was also the director of the United Association for Studies and Research, which was tied to individuals attempting to fund Hamas's terror activities. Marzouk has been tied to numerous groups, such as the Holy Land Foundation and INFOCOM, which have allegedly played significant roles in funding Hamas.
In a 2012 interview with the Jewish publication the Forward, Marzouk remarked that Hamas would treat any agreement reached by Israel and the Palestinian Authority as a hudna, or “ceasefire,” and not a permanent agreement. Marzouk declared that “[Hamas would] not recognize Israel as a state.” The Forward’s Larry Cohler-Esses remarked that Marzouk used the interview as an opportunity to espouse Hamas ideology. Larry Cohler-Esses, “Hamas wouldn’t honor a treaty, top leader says,” Forward, April 1, 2012, http://forward.com/articles/155054/hamas-wouldn-t-honor-a-treaty-top-leader-says/?p=all.
Marzouk was born in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. His family was originally from Yavne, Israel, but was forced to move to the Rafah refugee camp in 1948.“Senior Hamas Leader: Israel Exists,” Ynet News, February 20, 2006, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3218829,00.html. In Gaza, Marzouk first became involved with the Muslim Brotherhood, which would later give birth to Hamas.“Senior Hamas Leader: Israel Exists,” Ynet News, February 20, 2006, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3218829,00.html. In 1976, he earned an engineering degree from Ein Shams University in Cairo.“Individual Terrorists: Moussa Aba Marzook,” The Investigative Project on Terrorism, April 20, 2012, http://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/106. In the late 1970s, Marzouk moved to the United States and maintained a residence there for 14 years, mostly in Virginia.Steven Greenhouse, “US Detains Arab Tied to Militants,” New York Times, July 28, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/28/world/us-detains-arab-tied-to-militants.html; Charles W. Hall and Robert O’Harrow Jr., “VIRGINIA MAN SUSPECTED OF TERRORISM KNOWN FOR ANONYMITY,” Washington Post, August 8, 1995, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1995/08/08/virginia-man-suspected-of-terrorism-known-for-anonymity/2944d4cc-a359-456f-aefb-3443757acf9f/. From Virginia, Marzouk created and led multiple pro-Palestinian organizations.“Moussa Abu Marzouk,” European Council on Foreign Relations, accessed November 17, 2023, https://ecfr.eu/special/mapping_palestinian_politics/moussa_abu_marzouk/. In 1991, he was elected chairman of the Hamas political bureau and moved to Jordan to lead Hamas’s political headquarters.“Moussa Abu Marzouk,” ProCon.org, April 8, 2008, http://israelipalestinian.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=4918. In June 1995, Jordan expelled Marzouk, claiming that he undermined peace efforts between Jordan and Israel.Steven Greenhouse, “US Detains Arab Tied to Militants,” The New York Times, July 28, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/28/world/us-detains-arab-tied-to-militants.html. On July 28, 1995, Marzouk was extradited to the United States, where he was detained upon arrival at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. American and Israeli officials alleged that Marzouk had recently traveled to Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Egypt to promote fundraising activities for Hamas. Officials claimed that Marzouk had not been arrested previously because he had only “recently [been] put on the watch list.”Steven Greenhouse, “US Detains Arab Tied to Militants,” New York Times, July 28, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/28/world/us-detains-arab-tied-to-militants.html; “Moussa Abu Marzouk,” European Council on Foreign Relations, accessed November 17, 2023, https://ecfr.eu/special/mapping_palestinian_politics/moussa_abu_marzouk/. He was held for two years in the United States as a suspected terrorist, and because of his imprisonment conceded the chairmanship of Hamas’s political bureau to Khaled Meshaal.George Baghdadi, “Hamas is Still Defiant,” Time, December 10, 2001, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,187759,00.html; Adam Rasgon, “Who Will be Hamas’s Next Leader?” Jerusalem Post, February 11, 2017, https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Who-will-be-Hamass-next-leader-481092. Marzouk was then extradited to Jordan in 1997. There, he became deputy leader of Hamas’s political bureau. After Jordan expelled Marzouk and other Hamas leaders in 1999, he returned to Damascus, Syria.Adam Rasgon, “Who Will be Hamas’s Next Leader?” Jerusalem Post, February 11, 2017, https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Who-will-be-Hamass-next-leader-481092.
The U.S. Department of Treasury designated Marzouk a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT) in 1995, and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2003. Although he obtained a Green Card in 1990, Marzouk holds and is believed to travel on a Yemeni passport.Steven Greenhouse, “US Detains Arab Tied to Militants,” New York Times, July 28, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/28/world/us-detains-arab-tied-to-militants.html. On August 19, 2004, U.S. authorities arrested Muhammad Hamid Khalil Salah and Abdelhaleem Hasan Abdelraziq Ashqar on racketeering charges for participation in a 15-year conspiracy in the United States and abroad to illegally finance terrorist activities in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The Justice Department accused Marzouk of involvement in the conspiracy and issued a warrant for his arrest. At the time, authorities believed Marzouk resided in Damascus, Syria.“CHICAGO AND WASHINGTON, D.C., AREA MEN AMONG THREE INDICTED IN RACKETEERING CONSPIRACY IN U.S. TO FINANCE HAMAS TERROR ABROAD,” U.S. Department of Justice, August 20, 2004, https://www.justice.gov/archive/opa/pr/2004/August/04_crm_571.htm.
Marzouk left in Syria in 2012 when Hamas vacated the country during the Syrian civil war.“Moussa Abu Marzouk,” European Council on Foreign Relations, accessed November 17, 2023, https://ecfr.eu/special/mapping_palestinian_politics/moussa_abu_marzouk/. According to Hamas, Marzouk continued to move around Egypt, Qatar, and the Gaza Strip.Steven Greenhouse, “US Detains Arab Tied to Militants,” The New York Times, July 28, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/28/world/us-detains-arab-tied-to-militants.html; George Baghdadi, “Hamas is Still Defiant,” Time Magazine, December 10, 2001, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,187759,00.html. After years of traveling between the United States and the Middle East, Marzouk resided in New Cairo, Egypt, as of 2012.“How Historic Interview was Arranged,” Forward, April 19, 2012, http://forward.com/articles/155056/how-historic-interview-was-arranged/. He subsequently moved to Qatar, where Hamas’s top leadership reside. In May 2017, Marzouk participated in the formation of a revision of Hamas’s 1988 charter, meant to soften Hamas’s image. The revised edition of its founding political document removed blatantly antisemitic sections as well as references to Hamas’s origins within the Muslim Brotherhood. Notwithstanding the removal of antisemitic components of the document, Hamas leaders said upon the revised edition the new document does not replace the original 1988 charter, which remains in effect.“New Hamas policy document ‘aims to soften image,’” BBC News, May 1, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39744551; Adam Rasgon and David D. Kirkpatrick, “What Was Hamas Thinking?,” New Yorker, October 13, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-was-hamas-thinking. The revised document also reaffirmed Hamas’s commitment to “armed resistance” against Israel in its pursuit of the “liberation” of Palestine “from the river to the sea.”“A Document of General Principles & Policies,” Hamas Media Office, accessed May 2, 2017, http://hamas.ps/ar/uploads/documents/06c77206ce934064ab5a901fa8bfef44.pdf;
“New Hamas policy document ‘aims to soften image,’” BBC News, May 1, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39744551. According to an October 2023 interview with Marzouk, the revisions did not soften Hamas’s core positions, which call for full Palestinian independence or a return of all Palestinian refugees to Israel. “We never hid these slogans,” he told New Yorker magazine in 2023.Adam Rasgon and David D. Kirkpatrick, “What Was Hamas Thinking?,” New Yorker, October 13, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-was-hamas-thinking.
Marzouk continues to hold a senior leadership role in Hamas and acts as an international spokesman. During internal elections in April 2021, Hamas elected Marzouk as deputy chair of its diaspora office, under Meshaal as chair.“Hamas elects former head Khaled Meshal as diaspora chief,” New Arab, April 13, 2021, https://www.newarab.com/news/hamas-elects-former-head-khaled-meshal-diaspora-chief. Between May 10 and May 21, 2021, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) launched more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel, killing 12 and wounding more than 300.Aaron Boxerman and staff, “Hamas chief says war foils Israel’s attempts at Arab coexistence, normalization,” Times of Israel, May 21, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-chief-says-war-foils-israels-attempts-at-arab-coexistence-normalization/. Early in the conflict on May 12, Marzouk allegedly offered a ceasefire during a telephone conversation with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. Marzouk conditioned the ceasefire on Israel ending its military strikes on Gaza and on the international community pressuring Israel to end “military actions” at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.Staff and Aaron Boxerman, “Hamas official tells Russia: We’re ready for ceasefire with Israel,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-official-tells-russia-were-ready-for-ceasefire-with-israel/. Israel responded it was not interested in a ceasefire at the time. Speaking after with Hamas media, Marzouk said the Europeans were pressuring Hamas to stop firing short-range missiles at Israel. Marzouk said he told the Europeans Hamas would cease firing short-range missiles and use long-range missiles instead.Staff and Aaron Boxerman, “Hamas official tells Russia: We’re ready for ceasefire with Israel,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-official-tells-russia-were-ready-for-ceasefire-with-israel/. >As reports of a ceasefire emerged on May 20, Marzouk told the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen network he expected the ceasefire efforts to be successful, but Hamas would respond with “escalation for escalation.”Aaron Boxerman and staff, “Senior Hamas official: Ceasefire can be reached within ‘one or two days,’” Times of Israel, May 20, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/senior-hamas-official-ceasefire-can-be-reached-within-one-or-two-days/. A ceasefire went into effect on May 21.Aaron Boxerman and staff, “Hamas chief says war foils Israel’s attempts at Arab coexistence, normalization,” Times of Israel, May 21, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-chief-says-war-foils-israels-attempts-at-arab-coexistence-normalization/.
Marzouk continues to reside in Qatar, where he, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, and Meshaal are reportedly worth a combined $11 billion. Hamas’s leaders maintain offices and enjoy freedom of movement in Qatar. They have been photographed at luxury hotels, on private jets, and at diplomatic clubs around Qatar’s capital of Doha.Isabel Vincent and Benjamin Weinthal, “Hamas leaders worth staggering $11B revel in luxury — while Gaza’s people suffer,” New York Post, November 7, 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/11/07/news/hamas-leaders-worth-11bn-live-luxury-lives-in-qatar/.
Hamas’s presence in Qatar drew international attention after Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. During that attack, Hamas fighters blew up portions of the Gaza-Israel fence and overran the border, killing at least 1,200 people and kidnapping at least 240 men, women, and children. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and launched a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.Lauren Frayer, “Israel revises down its death toll from the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks to about 1,200,” NPR, November 11, 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/11/11/1212458974/israel-revises-death-toll-hamas-attacks-oct-7. Hamas leaders watched the attack unfold from Haniyeh’s office in Doha, Qatar.Matt Drake, “How Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh watched attack on Israel on TV from his office in Qatar as he celebrated with other officials,” Daily Mail (London), October 8, 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12608271/How-Hamas-leader-Ismail-Haniyeh-watched-attack-Israel-TV-office-Qatar-celebrated-officials.html; Hamas Online, Telegram, October 7, 2023.
According to Marzouk, Hamas’s military wing had kept details of the impending attack secret from the political leadership, but they were aware of general plans for the attack. Marzouk told New Yorker magazine, “We were surprised by the date but not by the actions.”Adam Rasgon and David D. Kirkpatrick, “What Was Hamas Thinking?,” New Yorker, October 13, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-was-hamas-thinking. Marzouk has argued that “women, children and civilians were exempt” during the October 7 attack, despite contradictory video evidence and testimonials from Hamas attackers themselves targeting civilians.Feras Kilani, “Hamas leader refuses to acknowledge killing of civilians in Israel,” BBC News, November 7, 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-67321241. Marzouk claimed that Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif specifically instructed fighters not to kill women, children, or old men. Marzouk told the BBC that Hamas would release its hostages, but Israel needed to first stop its bombing of Gaza.Feras Kilani, “Hamas leader refuses to acknowledge killing of civilians in Israel,” BBC News, November 7, 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-67321241.
Marzouk justified the October 7 attack by saying Israel’s government had grown increasingly rightwing, expanding West Bank settlements and increasing the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. He further claimed the Palestinians had spoken to Americans, Europeans, and other international actors since 1948 with no results. He declared the Palestinian Authority, which governs Palestinian areas of the West Bank, to be dead. According to Marzouk, the October 7 attack was “the biggest achievement.”Adam Rasgon and David D. Kirkpatrick, “What Was Hamas Thinking?,” New Yorker, October 13, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-was-hamas-thinking.
- Extremist entity
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Political, religious, social service provider, terrorist, violent
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Islamist, jihadist, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group, pan-Islamist, Qutbist, Sunni
- Member of Hamas’s Political Bureau; deputy leader of Diaspora Office
Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization which has killed hundreds of Israeli citizens, as well as Americans, in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip since it violently expelled the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
The U.S. Department of Treasury designated Moussa Mohammed Abu Marzouk as a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT) on August 29, 1995. “Resource Center: Sanctions,” U.S. Department of Treasury, August 29, 1995, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Documents/sdnew95.txt.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of Treasury designated Moussa Mohammed Abu Marzouk as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on August 21, 2003. “Resource Center: Recent OFAC Actions,” U.S. Department of Treasury, August 21, 2003, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages/20030821.aspx.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.