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Hamas Minister killed in Gaza

Said Siyam – Internal affairs and National Security Minister

Hamas’ minister, Said Siam, considered one of the most senior members of the Palestinian group’s leadership, was killed on 15 January 2009 afternoon in an Israeli air strike on his brother’s home in Gaza City.[1] Siam, 50, is the most senior Hamas figure was killed in Operation Cast Lead so far, and is the most senior Hamas figure killed by Israel since the assassination of Dr. Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in April 2004. The very same aerial stick, also killed Salah Adin Fuad Sha’aban Abu Sharah, a close associate of Siyam and the commander in chief of the Internal Hamas security forces.[2] Siam was one of the most prominent Hamas leaders in Gaza, the person who built Hamas’ special Executive Force in Gaza, which was the main focus of friction and dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas as the Hamas government took power, and he officially led the organization’s takeover of the Gaza Strip. [3]

The Executive Force (currently integrated into the police force) that was established in April 2006 and was subordinate to the interior ministry (headed by Said Siyam) and became one of Hamas’ most important tools for controlling the Gaza Strip. It was widely deployed during the confrontations with Fatah and played a central role in the Hamas putsch in the Gaza Strip in June 2007.Following the Hamas takeover of mid-June 2007, the Hamas’ Executive Force, the movement’s main enforcement arm was acting through its operatives also as “morality religious police” imposing the Islamic social codes on the population in the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ Executive Force imposes Islamic social codes on the local populace of the Gaza Strip.

Within Hamas operational defense doctrine of Gaza, within the Hamas military build up, this force was taken into consideration and was designed to act as a fighting force to confront Israeli military future incursion into the Gaza Strip, its operatives and those of the other internal security forces would be extensively integrated into the ranks of the Iz A-dine al-Qassam Brigades fighters at the expense of performing their other internal security duties.

According to Ahmad Abd al-Rahman, one of Abu Mazen’s advisors, Hamas leaders who were responsible for the coup were “Said Siyam, Mahmoud al-Zahar, Ahmad al-Jabari and Nizar Riyan”. [4] The military coup raging in the Gaza Strip which had been planned by the Hamas leadership against Palestinian legitimacy and against the democratic process through which Hamas gained rule. Ahmad Abd al-Rahman stated that “ This is a message for the Arab world, let everyone know that these kinds of [radical Islamic] organizations use democracy to gain power and become stronger, and after that they carry out a coup against it. This is a message for the Arab world, from the Pacific Ocean to the [Persian] Gulf.” [5]

Said Siyam was regarded as representing Hamas’ hard line policy guided by the foundations of strong rigid radical Islamic influence, committed totally to promote Hamas’ terror operational objectives and its political agenda. Within this context, a cluster of his media statements as published in recent years can indicate about his extreme non-compromised views and course of action.

Siyam favored Hamas suicide attacks against Israel stating” Martyrdom operations are one of our tools. It is not the only means that we have.” [6] After his appointment as interior minister in charge on Hamas security apparatus in Gaza he stated” The day will never come when any Palestinian would be arrested because of his political affiliation or because of resisting the occupation… I came to protect our people and their fighters, to protect their trees their properties and their capabilities”.[7] Siyam regarded Hamas’ security forces operations in Gaza not only in the facets of internal law and order activities serving the civic, but rather as a fighting component dedicated to the “duty to stand up to this aggression and cowardly Zionist invasion, the Israeli incursion into Gaza” as demonstrated in late June 2006. [8]

Biographical Information

Said Siyam was born in Jaurah village in 1959, resided in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza, married with children. Siyam was awarded with B.A in sciences and mathematics from Jerusalem Open University in 2000 and graduate of Islamic Sharia.Former teacher at UNRWA schools previously was ?teacher at Islamic University in Gaza that is known as a Hamas stronghold. Following the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Siyam offices were trucked in air raid by Israeli airplanes, which were regarded by Israel the Israeli army as “a meeting place to plan and direct terror activities”.[9]

Siyam as a Hamas operative simultaneous to his involvement in Hamas activities used to work at UNRWA schools in Gaza between 1980-2003. He left his job following disagreements with his employer due to his affiliation to Hamas. Siyam participates in social and ideological activity amongst the population (Da’awa). He used to work as a preacher and a volunteer imam in mosques in the Gaza Strip. Siyam was part of Hamas’ important forums and its representative at the “Follow-up Committee of the National and Islamic Forces”. Between December 2001 and April 2002 he the Hamas spokesman. Siyam was responsible for establishing Hamas’ “Al-Aqsa” radio station, which operates out of Gaza, and was also elected to the Legislative Council. Siyam was arrested 4 times between the years 1989-1992 and was among the Hamas activists deported to Lebanon in 1992.Identified as a Hamas leader, the PA’s security apparatuses also arrested him in 1995 among other measures taken by the PA to crack Hamas leadership after a series of terror attacks against Israel and the international pressure on Arafat to act against Hamas. Said Siyam as a senior Hamas operative he was also a member of the Islamic University in Gaza board of trustees together with other Hamas leaders Muhammad Hassan Shama’a (Hamas founding member) Ismail Haniyah (the current Hamas prime minister), Hamad Hassanat (Hamas founding member, and Muhammad Taha (senior Hamas leader).





[4] Al-Jazeera TV, June 15. See also “The Mujaheed Sheikh – Dr. Nizar Rayyan: The Spiritual Mentor of Iz A-Din Al Qassam Brigades” at ICT web site

[5] Ibid.

[6] Al-Jazeera, December 18, 2005.

[7] Reuters, March 2006.

[8] The Independent, July 7, 2006.

[9] Haaretz, June 30, 2006.