Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Iyar 5766 - May 24, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Israel Catches Biggest Hamas Criminal in Yehuda

by M Plaut

In a combined operation, the Israel Security Agency, the IDF and an elite unit of Border Police force arrested the head of Hamas's armed branch in the West Bank overnight Monday. His capture was described by the IDF as a "great military feat."

"What made him special was his creativity in finding very complex ways to attack Israelis," the IDF colonel who led the operation told Army Radio. The IDF colonel said Hamas would have trouble replacing him.

Ibrahim Hamed, 41, has been sought by Israel since 1998 and is allegedly responsible for killing at least 78 Israelis and wounding hundreds more in several terror attacks, including bombings at the Moment Cafe in Jerusalem, the Hebrew University cafeteria, the Hillel Cafe in Jerusalem's German Colony and Zion Square.

Hamed surrendered to troops after they ringed his Ramallah hideout and threatened to demolish it with a bulldozer with him inside. He emerged from the building and troops told him over a loudspeaker to take off his outer clothing to ensure that he was not carrying a bomb. Hamed complied, was cuffed and taken away. Ha'aretz reported that the two apartments on the second floor of the building were sparsely furnished with bamboo chairs and mattresses.

In addition to Hamed, eleven other Palestinian fugitives were apprehended throughout the West Bank early Tuesday morning as the IDF sought to apprehend Hamed's entire network of criminal terrorists.

Among the attacks Hamed is believed to have helped plan and direct were:

* A car bombing in Zion Square in the heart of Jerusalem five years ago which killed 11 people;

* A suicide bombing at the Moment coffee house adjacent to the Prime Minister's official residence in the city, in which 12 people were killed;

* A double suicide bombing in September, 2003, which killed a total of 17 people at the Hillel cafe in Jerusalem's German colony, and adjacent to the Tsrifin IDF base near Tel Aviv.

Throughout his years in hiding, Hamed maintained strict secrecy, and was in contact with only a few of the members of his network. He used to attack relatively infrequently and then disappear, to make it more difficult to track him down.

In a complex operation in Ramallah two years ago, Israel security forces came close to capturing Hamed, killing two of his senior aides. However he escaped at the last minute. It is believed that he was not involved in any recent terror attacks, following a decision by Hamas in January, 2005 not to be publicly involved in terror operations.

Hamed grew up in the West Bank village of Silwad, and belongs to the same clan as Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas leader based in Damascus.


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