The Islamic Jihad movement announced on Friday that Ziad al-Nakhala has been chosen to lead the Palestinian group, replacing Ramadhan Shalah.
Ziad al Nakhala. Nakhala, was born in the Gaza Strip in 1953 and has long been linked to Iran and the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah. Nakhala, who has been deputy head of the organization since the 1990s, now resides in Syria.
Islamic Jihad is heavily trained, armed and financed by Iran. It has fought alongside its ally, Hamas, in three wars against Israel in Gaza, since 2008.
It has been classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. Nakhala itself has been designated as a “global terrorist” by the US in 2014.
Two years ago, Iran pledged to supply Islamic Jihad with $70 million annually for its war against Israel.
In 1995, Islamic Jihad leader and founder Fathi Shaqaqi was shot dead in front of his hotel in Malta in an operation attributed to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad.