1 of 9 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.
2 of 9 He devoted his early life to Islamic scholarship and was considered by supporters primarily as a religious figure.
3 of 9 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.
4 of 9 He became an increasingly powerful figure, and Hamas attacks, in which scores of Israelis have been killed, posed a major obstacle to peace negotiations.
5 of 9 Sheikh Yassin opposed the Oslo peace process and refused to recognise the state of Israel, advocating resistance rather than talks.
6 of 9 Scores of Palestinians were inspired by his message to give up their lives, and became suicide bombers.
7 of 9 Sheikh Yassin said all suicide bombings - the latest of which came eight days ago in Ashdod - were a "response to Israeli crimes".
8 of 9 His hatred of the United States was also well known.
9 of 9 Hamas support was boosted by its charitable activities and support for Palestinians suffering economic hardship.