Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini, popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar, was a Palestinian political leader. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization from 1969 to 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority from 1994 to 2004. Ideologically an Arab nationalist, he was a founding member of the Fatah political party, which he led from 1959 until 2004.
Arafat was born to Palestinian parents in Cairo, Egypt, where he spent most of his youth and studied at the University of King Fuad I. While a student, he embraced Arab nationalist and anti-Zionist ideas. Opposed to the 1948 creation of the State of Israel, he fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Returning to Cairo, he served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students from 1952 to 1956. In the latter part of the 1950s he co-founded Fatah, a paramilitary organisation seeking the removal of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state. Fatah operated within several Arab countries, from where it launched attacks on Israeli targets.