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Senior Hamas official arrives in Israel for medical care

143946259575769653a_bJibril Rajoub (left) and his brother Nayef  |   Photo credit: AP

Senior Hamas member Nayef Rajoub, who spent years in Israeli prison, is recovering from spine surgery in Tel Aviv • Rajoub’s brother, Jibril, is a top Palestinian Authority figure and head of Palestinian Football Association.

Nayef Rajoub, a senior member of Hamas and the brother of senior Palestinian Authority figure Jibril Rajoub, is currently recuperating in a private hospital in Tel Aviv, apparently after having undergone spine surgery. Rajoub, who is expected to stay in the Assuta Medical Center’s Ramat Hahayal hospital for the next few days, has been assigned a security detail. The hospital said it could not confirm or deny the reports on Rajoub’s hospitalization, citing privacy concerns.

Nayef Rajoub’s brother, Jibril, is a senior Palestinian Authority figure and the head of Palestinian Football Association.

Nayef Rajoub, 57, has had multiple run-ins with Israeli security forces. He was first arrested in 1989 and was subsequently convicted of several terrorism-related charges, among them being a member of Hamas. In 1992, he was among the hundreds of Hamas terrorists who were deported to Lebanon after the organization killed an Israeli police officer. While in Lebanon, Rajoub began climbing the rungs of the organization until he attained a leadership position.

In 2006, he was elected to the Palestinian parliament as a Hamas candidate. Owing to his credentials as a theologian, Rajoub was immediately tapped to serve as religious affairs minister. Several months later, after Hamas captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in a cross-border raid, Israel put Rajoub in administrative detention along with other senior Hamas officials. He was released four years later, several months before a prisoner swap. Despite his repeated arrests, he maintained his clout within Hamas, in part because of his close ties with Ismail Haniyeh, who served as Hamas prime minister after the movement violently took over the Gaza Strip and formed a separate government in 2007.


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