Using a relative’s passport, Muhammad Qassem Sawalha avoided Israel’s security agencies, according to a report.
In the 1990s, he moved to the UK and eventually became a British citizen.
According to a source, a fugitive from Hamas who ‘controlled the group’s terrorist operations in the West Bank’ resides on a council property in a borough in North London that is home to about 5% of the Jewish population in the United Kingdom.
According to The Times, Muhammad Qassem Sawalha, 62, a member of Hamas’s governing board, fled Israel in the 1990s using a relative’s passport in order to evade Israeli security services and eventually obtain British citizenship.
Sawalha kept working for Hamas in the UK.
According to a US Department of Justice indictment from 2004, he had private discussions about “revitalising” terrorist attacks in Israel and assisting in the money-laundering of activities in the West Bank and Gaza.
The father of four moved with his 56-year-old wife Sawsan into a two-story house in Colindale, in the north London borough of Barnet, in 2003, where they were given a council lease.
The house has a garage and a yard.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that there are 56,616 Jews living in the borough of Barnet, making it the Jewish community in Britain with the largest number.
Two synagogues can be reached by car from the address in ten minutes.
Sawalha and his spouse purchased their house for £320,700 in June 2021 through the Right to Buy programme.
The market value of the property was discounted by £112,300 by the council, which was £500 less than the maximum reduction that could have been obtained for the fiscal year.
The home is free and clear of a mortgage.
Council renters are entitled to a reduction on the market value of a property under the Right to Buy scheme.
Based on data from the Land Registry, the average cost of a property in the area is over £600,000.
Leading the council, Barry Rawlings stated that he has started a review and added that he was “horrified to think [Sawalha] could be living in our midst.”
“We will coordinate with other relevant parties, such as the police and the government, to thoroughly examine the case’s complete background and will implement all necessary measures,” he declared.
This has come to light at a time when the local communities are in dire need of assurance due to the intensifying Middle East crisis, and it is our duty as the council to make sure we can provide that comfort.
In 2020, Rawlings stated that the council was informed about Sawalha’s past by the UK Lawyers for Israel advocacy group, and that upon learning of it, officials’reported it to the Met Police’s counterterrorism unit’.
Officers from the National Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit investigated whether any sanctions laws may have been broken by the tenancy arrangement.
However, an official stated that “the evidential test was not met” and therefore no further action was taken.
An examination of the property’s sale the following year has not been conducted.
Sawalha met the deputy foreign minister of Vladimir Putin in 2019 while in Moscow for an official Hamas delegation.
He was a member of Hamas’ Politburo from 2013 to 2017, and he was photographed in 2010 and 2012 alongside Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
Sawalha signed a proclamation in 2009 demanding the establishment of a “Third Jihadist Front” in Palestine in addition to Afghanistan and Iraq, and praising Allah for having “routed the Zionist Jews.”
The statement also begged for the sending of arms to Gaza.Sawalha has been formally identified by Israel’s defence ministry as a Hamas member, and should he decide to return, he will be arrested.In the early 2000s, Sawalha received a British passport in spite of his contentious actions.
According to Home Office guidelines, citizenship will ordinarily be revoked to anyone who ‘incites, justifies or glorifies’ terrorist violence or’seeks to instigate others to terrorist activities’.
Sawalha has never faced criminal charges in the United Kingdom.
Following the violent response to the horrendous Hamas terror attacks on Israel earlier this month, tens of thousands of people flocked to the streets of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast, and Cardiff on Saturday to demonstrate for the rights of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
About 1,000 Met Police are on duty to keep an eye on activities in the capital following a similar gathering last week that drew a sizable crowd in support of Palestinians who are imprisoned in the Gaza Strip.
Marchers carried placards that said, among other things, “Stop Bombing Gaza,” “End Israeli Apartheid,” and “Freedom for Palestine.
“Following the terrorist organisation Hamas’s savage foray into southern Israel, participants demanded an end to Israel’s siege and airstrikes.
On Saturday, the border between Egypt and Gaza opened, allowing a little amount of much-needed relief to enter the besieged Palestinian enclave for the first time since Israel had closed it entirely two weeks ago in response to Hamas’s horrific assault.
Aid workers claimed that the 20 trucks that were permitted in were not enough to handle the extraordinary humanitarian catastrophe.
Days have passed while more than 200 trucks loaded with 3,000 tonnes of relief have waited nearby.
Half of the 2.3 million Palestinians living in Gaza have evacuated their homes, and they are forced to ration food and drink tainted water.
Amid a widespread power outage, hospitals report that their stock of medical supplies and gasoline for emergency generators is running short.
Fuel shortages and bomb damage have forced five hospitals to close, according to the Health Ministry, which is governed by Hamas.
According to Israel, Hamas is still holding at least 210 prisoners despite having released two American hostages who had been detained in Gaza since the start of the conflict on October 7.
Israel continues to bombard Gaza with warplanes as Palestine retaliates with rockets.According to a military spokesman, Israel intends to intensify its attacks beginning on Saturday in order to get ready for the next phase of the conflict with Hamas.
When reporters asked about a potential ground invasion, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari responded that the military was attempting to set up the best possible conditions ahead of time.
“In order to reduce the risks to our forces in the upcoming phases of the war, we will intensify our attacks.”
“We will intensify our attacks starting today,” Hagari declared, reiterating his appeal to Gaza City’s citizens to evacuate southward for their protection.
There is a growing assumption that Israel will launch a ground offensive with the goal of eliminating Hamas.
On Friday, Israel declared that it had no intention of assuming permanent sovereignty over the small but heavily populated Palestinian area.
In an urban battle, an Israeli ground assault would probably result in a sharp increase in deaths for both sides.
Out of five conflicts for both sides in Gaza, this one is the bloodiest as it entered its fifteenth day on Saturday.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 13,561 people have been injured and 4,385 people have died as of Saturday.
Over 1,400 individuals have died in Israel; the majority of these deaths occurred during the October 7 attack.