1. In the afternoon of January 15, the Israeli Air Force attacked a building in the neighborhood of Jebaliya where Sa’id Siyam, a member of the Hamas leadership, was staying. Also in the building were Salah Abu Sharah, the head of Hamas’s internal security service in the Gaza Strip, and Siyam’s brother, Iyad Siyam. The building was hit (IDF Spokesman, January 15). According to the Hamas website (Palestine-info), Sa’id Siyam was killed. The other two people were killed as well.
2. Sa’id Siyam, the Minister of Internal Affairs and National Security in Haniyah’s administration, is a senior Hamas figure in the Gaza Strip. In his capacity as Minister of Internal Affairs, he was in charge of oppressing Fatah and the other Hamas opponents in the Gaza Strip. He is the highest-ranking leader killed so far in Operation Cast Lead. It is our assessment that his death will be a blow to Hamas’s morale. Following are some initial biographical details.
Biographical details on Sa’id Siyam
Full name : Sheikh Sa’id Muhammad Sha’ban Siyam ("Abu Muss’ab")
Origin/place of residence : born in Al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza , 1959, resident of the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan. His family is from the village of Al-Jura near Ashkelon (also the origin of Ahmed Yassin and Ismail Haniyah).
Marital status : married and father of six.
Education : studied at a teachers’ seminar in Ramallah and was trained as a teacher of science and mathematics. He completed his studies in the Open University of Al-Quds with a B.A. in Islamic culture.
Activities : in the past, he worked in one of UNRWA’s schools in Gaza . He left his position as a result of disagreements with his employers due to his political affiliation. He was involved in social activity as part of Hamas’s da’wah network. He worked as a preacher and volunteer imam in Gaza Strip mosques.
Status and activity in Hamas :
– he was a member of Hamas’s leadership in the Gaza Strip, and took part in its decision making. With the outbreak of the violent confrontation (the Al-Aqsa intifada), his political status within Hamas strengthened.
– Between December 2001 and April 2002, he was the Hamas spokesman. He was responsible for establishing Hamas’s Radio Al-Aqsa station, operating from the Gaza Strip. He was elected for the legislative council and won many votes.
– In 2003, he became member of the Hamas political leadership in the Gaza Strip. As Minister of Internal Affairs in the Hamas administration, he was one of the highest-ranking, most influential people. Siyam was the one who established Hamas’s Executive Force which was Hamas’s spearhead of clashes with the Palestinian Authority and was used as the main force for oppressing Fatah and other Hamas’s opponents.
– He was one of the leaders in the Hamas military takeover of the Gaza Strip. Following the Hamas takeover, he was the one in charge of the police and the internal security services, which were brutally employed against Hamas’s opposition.
– Arrests by Israel and the Palestinian Authority : he was arrested by Israel four times in the years 1989-1992. He was among the group of Hamas’s activists who were expelled to Lebanon (1992) and were allowed to return later. He was arrested twice by the Palestinian Authority security services (1995).
– Statements made after being elected Minister of Internal Affairs : after he entered office, he declared that he would not stop the members of the "resistance" (that is, those who perpetrate acts of terrorism against Israel ) due to his belief that "resistance" was "a legitimate right of the Palestinian people" (Maan News Agency, March 24). His fundamental support of terrorism is highly significant, because in his capacity as Minister of Internal Affairs he was in charge of the Palestinian security services which support the military-terrorist wing of Hamas.