The Middle East: Inside Hamas

The Palestinian group known for suicide bombings suffered a jolt last week when Israel assassinated its spiritual leader. But its power is based on an enduring, secretive network. A TIME exclusive

We waited on the beach to meet a killer. The man we had come to see carried out murder operations for Hamas, the militant organization bent on reclaiming all of historic Palestine from Israel. We parked our car in a designated spot so his watchers could check that we hadn't been tailed. As the sun dipped into the sea lapping the Gaza Strip on a steamy night last June, the killer was cooling off with a swim. For a wanted man, he seemed rather audacious, relaxing unarmed on the crowded seashore. But though he appeared at ease, he took meticulous precautions...

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