Khaled Meshaal Fast Facts
Here is a look at the life of Khaled Meshaal, former political leader of Hamas.Posted — Updated
Personal: Birth date: 1956
Birth place: Silwad, West Bank
Birth name: Khaled Meshaal
Father: Imam, name unknown publicly
Mother: Name unknown publicly
Marriage: Name unknown publicly, (1981-present)
Education: Kuwait University, Bachelor of Science in Physics, 1978
Religion: Sunni Muslim
Timeline: 1967 - After the Six-Day War, Meshaal's family moves from the West Bank to Jordan and then to Kuwait.
1971 - Meshaal joins the Muslim Brotherhood.
1978-1984 - Works as a physics teacher in Kuwait.
1980 - Founds the Islamic League for Palestinian Students.
December 1987 - Palestinian cleric Sheikh Ahmed Yassin founds Hamas, a spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood. Meshaal joins and becomes the leader of the Hamas chapter in Kuwait.
August 2, 1990 - Iraq invades Kuwait. Reportedly, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein decided to invade the small, oil-rich nation in order to pay off debts incurred during Iraq's eight year war with Iran. Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat throws his support behind Hussein.
1991 - US and coalition forces defeat Iraq and liberate Kuwait. Kuwait then expels 300,000 Palestinians from the country, including Meshaal.
1991 - Meshaal settles in Jordan and leads its Hamas chapter. He is in charge of international fund-raising.
1996 - Becomes chief of Hamas' political bureau.
September 1997 - Israeli Mossad agents, posing as Canadian tourists, spray fentanyl into Meshaal's ear in an assassination attempt in Amman, Jordan. The Mossad agents are captured. King Hussein of Jordan tells Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the agents will be put on trial if Meshaal is not given the antidote. US President Bill Clinton also intervenes. Netanyahu reluctantly agrees and Meshaal recovers. As part of the deal, Israel also releases a number of Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners, including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
September 22, 1999 - Meshaal, along with two other Hamas leaders, is accused of illegal political activity and briefly imprisoned in Jordan. After his release, Jordan's King Abdullah II closes Hamas' office in Amman and expels Meshaal from the county. Meshaal moves to Qatar.
2001 - Relocates to Damascus, Syria.
March 22, 2004 - Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of Hamas, is killed by Israeli air strikes.
March 23, 2004 - Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi is named as Yassin's successor.
April 17, 2004 - Rantisi is killed by an Israeli airstrike on his car. Meshaal rises to the top of the Hamas leadership, along with Ismail Haniya.
January 26, 2006 - Hamas, participating for the first time in Palestinian parliamentary elections, wins a landslide victory. Hamas wins 76 seats, and Fatah 43 seats, in the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council, giving Hamas a majority.
June 14, 2007 - After a week of battles between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas seizes control of Gaza.
April 18, 2008 - Former US President Jimmy Carter meets with Meshaal, in Damascus, Syria.
December 27, 2008 - Israel launches Operation Cast Lead, air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for continued rocket attacks against Southern Israel. A ground offensive begins on January 3, 2009.
January 18, 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declares a unilateral cease-fire in the fighting in Gaza. During the conflict, more than 1,200 Palestinians are killed, along with 13 Israelis.
February 1, 2009 - Meshaal meets with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Speaking of Operation Cast Lead, he praises Iran, "The victory of the people of Gaza was a miracle of God and the Islamic Republic definitely has a share in this victory."
May 4, 2011 - Meshaal and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sign a reconciliation agreement in an effort to unite rivals Hamas and Fatah.
December 2011 - Hamas sides with the opposition in the Syrian civil war, against President Bashar al-Assad. Meshaal abandons the Hamas office in Damascus.
January 29, 2012 - Meshaal makes his first official visit to Jordan since being expelled in 1999. He and Qatar's Crown Prince, Sheikh Tamin Bin Hamad Al-Thani meet with King Abdullah II.
February 2012 - Meshaal moves to Doha, Qatar.
December 7, 2012 - Meshaal visits Gaza. With the exception of a brief visit to the West Bank in 1975, it is his first visit to the Palestinian territories since leaving the West Bank in 1967. He appears before crowds, standing in front of a replica of an M75 rocket, "We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation, and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take we will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone. Israel has no right to be in Jerusalem."
April 2, 2013 - Meshaal is re-elected chairman of Hamas' political bureau.
July 7, 2014 - Israel declares Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza. Over the course of approximately seven weeks, more than 2,100 Palestinians and 68 Israelis are killed.
May 6, 2017 - Ismail Haniya, Meshaal's replacement, is elected by Hamas' Shura Council.
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