Mousa Abu Marzook

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Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook
موسى محمد أبو مرزوق
Marzook in 2022
Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau
In office
15 January 1997 – 23 January 2014
Succeeded byIsmail Haniyeh
Personal details
Born (1951-01-09) 9 January 1951 (age 73)
Rafah, All-Palestine Protectorate
Political partyHamas
Islamic Association of Palestine
Residence(s)Doha, Qatar
Alma materAin Shams University
Colorado State University
Louisiana Tech University

Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook (Arabic: موسى محمد أبو مرزوق; born 9 January 1951) is a Palestinian senior member of Hamas.

Early life and education[edit]

Marzook's parents were from Yibna, Mandatory Palestine (now Yavne, Israel).[1] They became refugees after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and were forced to move to the Rafah Camp in the Gaza Strip.[1] Marzook was born there on 9 January 1951.[1] He completed high school in Gaza, studied engineering in Cairo until 1976, and then looked for work in the Persian Gulf.[1] He continued his studies in the U.S. obtaining a master's degree in construction management from Colorado State University.[1][2] He also earned a Doctorate degree in Industrial Engineering from Louisiana Tech University located in Ruston, La.[1][2]

Marzook lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years and earned a Green Card in 1990. He is married with six children.[3]

Hamas involvement[edit]

Marzook has been active in the Islamic political work since 1968, playing a significant role in reorganizing Hamas after the mass arrest of its members in 1989. Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar credits Abu Marzook's fundraising prowess, and his connections to donors in Europe and the US with saving the organization and developing its infrastructure in Gaza, including social service programs. Israel claims that some funds were used for attacks against Israel, a charge that Abu Marzouk denies.[2] Abu Marzook was elected as the first Hamas political bureau chief in 1992, and since 1997 has been deputy chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau.[4] Marzook founded the Islamic Association of Palestine.[5] According to U.S. officials, Marzook traveld to Tehran in October 1992 in his role as Hamas's de facto foreign minister.[3]


Marzook lived in Jordan from 1998 to 2001.[6] He then moved to Damascus, Syria in 2001.[6] In 2012, Marzook was living in New Cairo, Egypt.[7] At the outbreak of the 2023 Israel-Hamas war, Marzook was residing in Doha, Qatar.[8]


U.S. immigration officials arrested Marzook after he arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City on 27 July 1995 due to his presence on a terrorist watch list. At the time, American and Israeli authorities claimed that Marzook was the head of Hamas's political committee and set the group's political and strategic policy, including the use of attacks. Marzook was held at the Manhattan Correctional Center. Marzook's attorney Stanley L. Cohen acknowledged that Marzook supported Hamas, but denied he was a leader in the group. In a statement, a Hamas official virtually acknowledged he was a Hamas leader.[3] Despite this, no formal charges were placed against him. Two months after his detainment, Israel filed a request for the United States to extradite him. Marzouk fought the case for the next 2 years, but courts ruled in favor of his extradition. With no formal charges against him, the United States released him; but not wanting him to remain, the United States contacted numerous Arab countries to allow Marzook residency. All refused, except Jordan, which reportedly agreed under U.S. pressure. [citation needed] Cohen continues to legally represent Marzook.[7]

Criminal charges in the US[edit]

Marzook was listed as a Specially Designated Terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1995, and is currently on the renamed Treasury department Specially Designated National list under such alternative spellings of his name as Dr. Musa Abu-Marzuq, Sa'id Abu-Marzuq, Mousa Mohamed Abou Marzook, Musa Abu Marzouk, and Musa Abu Marzuk, and under the alias "Abu-'Umar."[9]

In 2002, a federal grand jury in Dallas returned an indictment against Marzook for conspiring to violate U.S. laws that prohibit dealings in terrorist funds. The indictment alleged that Marzook had conspired with the Richardson, Texas-based InfoCom Corporation and five of its employees to hide his financial transactions with the computer company. He allegedly invested $250,000 in InfoCom, with Infocom to make payments to Marzook based on the company's net profits or losses.[10]

In 2004 Ismail Elbarasse was detained by police in Maryland west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after Baltimore County police officers said they saw a woman (his wife) in the vehicle videotaping the Bridge, including footage of the cables and upper supports of the main span. Elbarasse was an assistant to Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, and was named an unindicted co-conspirator by a grand jury in Chicago after authorities searched the home and vehicle of Elbarasse and found bank records belonging to Marzook, deputy chief of Hamas's political wing. A federal indictment charged Marzook in an alleged conspiracy that authorities said raised millions of dollars for Hamas.[11]

In 2004, a U.S. court indicted him in absentia for coordinating and financing Hamas activities.[12]

Political views[edit]

Interview with The Forward[edit]

In April 2012, Marzook gave what was billed as his "first-ever interview with a Jewish publication", The Forward.[7] Marzook said that an agreement between Israel and the P.A. would have to be ratified by a referendum of all Palestinians, including those in Gaza. He would regard it as a hudna, or cease-fire, rather than as a peace treaty. If Hamas gained power, they would feel free to change provisions of the agreement. "We will not recognize Israel as a state", he said. "It will be like the relationship between Lebanon and Israel or Syria and Israel", that is, an armistice.

The Forward requested the interview, which took place over two days at Marzook's home in New Cairo, Egypt.[7][2] The Forward published responses to the interview from eight "prominent observers of the Middle East peace process", Laura Kam of The Israel Project, Israeli security analyst Yossi Alpher, Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now, Princeton University Professor Daoud Kuttab, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, Arab-American activist Hussein Ibish, David Keyes of Advancing Human Rights and political scientist Nathan Brown.[13][14]

Operation Pillar of Defense[edit]

Following the eight-day cross-border battle between Israel and Hamas in November 2012, Moussa Abu Marzouk said that Hamas would not stop making weapons in Gaza or smuggling them to the territory. According to the Associated Press, Moussa Abu Marzouk is the No 2 leader in Hamas.[15]

2023 Israel-Hamas war[edit]

When asked about the Re'im music festival massacre, Marzouk replied that it was a "coincidence", and that the attackers may have thought these were soldiers "resting".[16]

When asked why Hamas built 500 km of tunnels but not shelters for civilians in Gaza, Abu Marzuk said that the tunnels are built to protect Hamas fighters, while it is the responsibility of UN to protect the civilians.[17][18][19]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Senior Hamas leader: Israel exists". Ynet. 20 February 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d Larry Cohler-Esses (19 April 2012). "Hamas Wouldn't Honor a Treaty, Top Leader Says". The Forward.
  3. ^ a b c Greenhouse, Steven (28 July 1995). "U.S. DETAINS ARAB TIED TO MILITANTS". New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  4. ^ Profile on Islam Online website
  5. ^ United States Senate official website
  6. ^ a b Baghdadi, George (10 December 2001). "Hamas is Still Defiant". Time. Damascus. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d The Forward 2012.
  8. ^ Rasgon, Adam; Kirkpatrick, David D. (13 October 2023). "What Was Hamas Thinking?". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  9. ^ [SPECIALLY DESIGNATED NATIONALS AND BLOCKED PERSONS "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL, 4 April 2011]
  10. ^ U.S. Department of Justice info. on InfoCom Corporation
  11. ^ Rich, Markon, Eric, Jerry (25 August 2004). "Va. Man Tied to Hamas Held as Witness". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 September 2014.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ U.S. indictment in absentia for Hamas activities Archived 30 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Reading Hamas". The Forward. 29 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Reading Hamas II". The Forward. 30 April 2012.
  15. ^ "AP Interview: Hamas No. 2 rejects Gaza arms halt". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. 24 November 2012. Archived from the original on 24 November 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  16. ^ "A Hamas leader refuses to admit his group planned to kill civilians". The Economist. 11 October 2023. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on 7 November 2023. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  17. ^ "Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels In Gaza Were Built To Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is The Responsibility Of The U.N. And Israel". MEMRI. 27 October 2023. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  18. ^ "Tunnels built to protect our fighters, not civilians: Hamas official". India Today. 30 October 2023. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  19. ^ "Hamas official Marzouk: 'Gaza tunnels built to protect Hamas, not civilians'". Jerusalem Post. 31 October 2023. Retrieved 1 November 2023.


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