Nizar Rayan Dies

Sheikh Nizar Rayan (Arabic: نزار ريان‎, also transliterated Rayyan) (March 6, 1959 – January 1, 2009) was a top Hamas leader who served as a liaison between the Palestinian organization's political leadership and its military wing.

Also a professor of Islamic law, he came to be considered a top clerical authority within Hamas after the death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004. Rayan was a strong advocate between 1994 and 2004 or 2005 of suicide attacks on Israel, and his son died on one such mission. Rayan and most of his family were killed in an Israeli airstrike during the 2008–2009 Israel-Gaza conflict.

The IDF also targeted homes of Hamas commanders, noting: "Destruction of hundreds of Hamas leaders' homes [is] one of the keys to the offensive's success. The homes serve as weapons warehouses and headquarters, and shelling them has seriously hindered Hamas capabilities." Several high-ranking Hamas commanders were killed, including Nizar Rayan, Abu Zakaria al-Jamal, and Jamal Mamduch. The Hamas leaders often died along with their families in their homes. According to a Hamas spokesperson and Rayyan's son, the IDF warned Rayan, by contacting his cell phone, that an attack on his house was imminent.