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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 11:22 GMT
Sheikh Yassin: Life in pictures
Sheikh Yassin meets students in January 2004
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Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Yassin, assassinated by Israel, was an inspiration to disillusioned young Palestinians and a hate figure for Israel. Hamas is one of the largest and most militant Palestinian groups fighting Israeli occupation.
Yassin at Friday prayers in January 2004
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He devoted his early life to Islamic scholarship and was considered by supporters primarily as a religious figure.
Sheikh Yassin greeted by Yasser Arafat on his release from jail in 1997
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He was welcomed by Yasser Arafat when he was released from prison in 1997, in exchange for two Israeli agents held by Jordan after a botched mission to kill a Hamas member.
Yassin in Palestine Hall in Gaza City in 1998
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He became an increasingly powerful figure, and Hamas attacks, in which scores of Israelis have been killed, posed a major obstacle to peace negotiations.
Yassin in front seat of jeep during anti-US demo in Gaza City
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Sheikh Yassin opposed the Oslo peace process and refused to recognise the state of Israel, advocating resistance rather than talks.
Yassin at rally in Jabaliya refugee camp in February 2003
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Scores of Palestinians were inspired by his message to give up their lives, and became suicide bombers.
A wounded Israeli taken from the scene of a twin Hamas suicide bombing in Ashdod on 14 March 2004
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Sheikh Yassin said all suicide bombings - the latest of which came eight days ago in Ashdod - were a "response to Israeli crimes".
Yassin being interviewed in his home in January 2004
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His hatred of the United States was also well known.
Yassin with children at mosque in Gaza City
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Hamas support was boosted by its charitable activities and support for Palestinians suffering economic hardship.

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