"Butcher of Khan Younis": Yahya Sinwar
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BRUSSELS-The Council of the European Union on Tuesday added Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, to the EU’s terrorist list for his role in the Palestinian militant group’s Oct. 7 attacks that killed some 1,200 Israelis.

Sinwar, described as the “political leader of Hamas,” is now “subject to having his funds and other financial assets in EU Member States frozen,” the Council said in a press release.

The EU to impose new sanctions on Hamas, which the bloc already lists as a terrorist organization, has come under increasing pressure from Israel and the United States.

In December, the EU council had already imposed sanctions on two Hamas military commanders.

Sinwar has been a member of Hamas since the founding of the group in 1987 and is a key figure in the organization.

Nicknamed the “Butcher of Khan Younis” for his ruthlessness, referring to the Palestinian refugee camp where he was born in 1962, Sinwar has served as the head of Hamas’s political bureau in Gaza since 2017.

He’s been sanctioned by the U.S. since 2015.

“Butcher of Khan Younis”: Yahya Sinwar

Considered charismatic and highly intelligent, as well as brutal and ruthless, Yahya Sinwar rules with an iron fist. He was born in the refugee camp of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip in 1962 and was one of the early members of Hamas when it formed in 1987.

Butcher of Khan Younis" Yahya Sinwar
Butcher of Khan Younis” Yahya Sinwar

A few years later, he was also involved in setting up its military wing, the Qassam Brigades, which has carried out suicide attacks in Israel. He was nicknamed the “Butcher of Khan Younis” after taking brutal action against Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

In 1988, an Israeli court sentenced him to four life sentences after he was convicted of killing two Israeli soldiers and murdering several Palestinians. Sinwar learned Hebrew in jail and reportedly studied the mindset of the “enemy” by reading books by famous Israeli personalities. Israeli doctors are said to have saved his life after an abscess was removed from near his brain.

In 2011, Sinwar was released after 22 years in jail, alongside more than 1,000 Palestinians, as part of a prisoner exchange deal that led to Hamas freeing the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Sinwar returned to Gaza and became responsible for liaising between the military and political arms of Hamas. In 2017, he became the group’s leader in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Sinwar of being willing to sacrifice Palestinian civilians in the fight against Israel. According to him, Sinwar is not interested in the fate of his people and behaves “like a little Hitler in his bunker”. But as of late, Yahya Sinwar no longer seems to be in his bunker – according to Israeli media, he has left the northern Gaza Strip, where the fighting is taking place, and is in the south of the enclave, near his birthplace.

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