BEIRUT (Reuters) - A former leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group Ramadan Shallah has died after battling illness, al-Manar TV reported on Saturday.
Shallah, 62, served as secretary general of the Iran-backed group from 1995 to 2018.
Al-Manar did not specify the exact nature of the illness.
Labelled a terrorist organisation by the United States, European Union and others, the group has waged attacks on Israel and aims to establish an Islamic Palestinian state.
“By losing Shallah we lost a great national man,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a statement published by the Palestinian official news agency WAFA.
Shallah was born in Gaza in 1958 and studied in Egypt before earning a Ph.D in economics in the United Kingdom.
He was elected head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad after the killing of the group’s former chief, Fathi Shiqaqi, in 1995.
Rporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Chris Reese