Here’s a look at the life of Khaled Meshaal, former political leader of Hamas.
Date of birth: 1956
Place of birth: Silwad, West Bank
Birth name: Khaled Meshaal
Father: Imam, name not publicly available
Mother: Name not publicly available
Marriage: Name not publicly available (1981 to present)
Education: Kuwait University, Bachelor of Science in Physics, 1978
Religion: sunni muslim
1967 – After the Six-Day War, Meshaal’s family moved from the West Bank to Jordan and then to Kuwait.
1971 – Meshaal joins the Muslim Brotherhood.
1978-1984 – He works as a physics teacher in Kuwait.
1980 – He founds the Islamic League for Palestinian Students.
December 1987 – Palestinian cleric Sheikh Ahmed Yassin founded Hamas, a spin-off of the Muslim Brotherhood. Meshaal joins and becomes the leader of the Kuwait chapter of Hamas.
August 2, 1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein reportedly decided to invade the small oil-rich nation to pay off debts incurred during Iraq’s eight-year war with Iran. The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, supports 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 responsible for international fundraising.
1996 – He becomes the head of the political office of Hamas.
September 1997 – Israeli Mossad agents posing as Canadian tourists spray fentanyl in Meshaal’s ear in an assassination attempt in Amman, Jordan. Mossad agents are captured. King Hussein of Jordan tells Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the agents will be prosecuted if Meshaal is not given the antidote. Netanyahu reluctantly agrees and Meshaal recovers. As part of the deal, Israel releases a number of Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners, including 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, King Abdullah II of Jordan closes the Hamas office in Amman and expels Meshaal from the county. Meshaal moves to Qatar.
2001 – Moves to Damascus, Syria.
March 22, 2004 – Yassin, leader of Hamas, was killed by Israeli airstrikes.
March 23, 2004 – Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi is named Yassin’s successor.
April 17, 2004 – Rantisi was killed by an Israeli airstrike on his car. Meshaal rises to the top of the leadership of Hamas, along with Ismail Haniya.
January 26, 2006 – Hamas, participating for the first time in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, wins an overwhelming 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 takes 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, airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for continued rocket attacks on southern Israel. A ground offensive begins on January 3, 2009.
January 18, 2009 – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declares a unilateral ceasefire in the fighting in Gaza. During the conflict, more than 1,200 Palestinians were killed, along with 13 Israelis.
February 1, 2009 – Meshaal meets with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Speaking about Operation Cast Lead, he praises Iran: “The victory of the people of Gaza was a miracle from God and the Islamic Republic definitely has a part in this victory.”
May 4, 2011 – Meshaal and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sign a reconciliation deal 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 leaves the Hamas office in Damascus.
January 29, 2012 – Meshaal is making his first official visit to Jordan since he was expelled in 1999. He and Qatar’s Crown Prince Sheikh Tamin Bin Hamad Al-Thani are meeting with King Abdullah II.
February 2012 – Meshaal is moving 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. Appearing before the crowd, standing in front of a replica of an M75 rocket, “We will “. never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation,” he says, “and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it takes, we will liberate Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone. Israel has no right to be in Jerusalem.”
April 2, 2013 – Meshaal is re-elected chairman of the Hamas political office.
May 6, 2017 – Haniya, Meshaal’s replacement, is chosen by Hamas’ Shura Council.
April 12, 2021 – According to a spokesman for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Meshaal is elected head of the group’s diaspora office.