Sheikh Hamad Al-Hasanat, one of the founding members of Hamas, died yesterday at the age of 80.
A family member said that he suddenly suffered severe pains in his belly and was immediately taken to hospital. A little time later, he was announced dead.
Al-Hasanat was one of the close friends of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and he helped found Hamas and its welfare infrastructure along the Gaza Strip.
He founded the Islamic Society, a charity that is running kindergartens, schools, a large healthcare centre, a sports club and other facilities.
Al-Hasanat was born in Beer Al-Saba (Beer Shiva) in Al-Nakab (Negev) in 1935 and was forced out from his city by Israeli gangs. Two of his brothers were killed by Israeli forces in 1951.
In the early 1990s, one of his sons took part in founding Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing. He was later killed in 1992 by the Israeli occupation.
Along with more than 400 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members he was expelled by Israel to south Lebanon in 1993.