A masked Hamas man holds a gun 370 (R).
(photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)
The Judea Military Court on Wednesday convicted Ibrahim Hamed, who was head of
the Hamas military wing in the West Bank until his arrest in 2006, of personally
murdering 26 people and facilitating and directing the murder of 20
Hamed was convicted of planning, organizing, assisting and
executing the December 2001 bombing at Zion Square in Jerusalem; the March 2002
attack at Cafe Moment in Jerusalem; the May 2002 bomb at Sheffield Club in
Rishon Lezion; and the July 2002 attack at the Hebrew University. His attacks
killed 46 people and injured dozens.
Hamed, 47, from Silwad, became
active in Hamas in the late 1980s. The Palestinian Authority imprisoned him, but
he was released in 2001. Following his release he carried out and coordinated a
series of lethal terror attacks.
Hamed was later arrested by Israeli
security forces in 2006 after a long and protracted hunt. The prosecution is
seeking a sentence of 56 consecutive life terms. The sentencing hearing has been
set for next week.
Military Judge Maj. Menachem Lieberman noted that many
Palestinian witnesses had testified that Hamed was innocent. In contrast, he
found that the evidence presented by police was more believable regarding
Hamed’s guilt. Hamed’s attorney had also claimed in his defense that the
evidence collected by police was taken by unlawful means.
accepted testimony of Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agents that methods used
to collect evidence were used according to law.
Hamed did not make any
statement to sway the court regarding his sentence.
Instead he argued
that he does not recognize the court’s authority to judge or sentence
Besides terror attacks against people, Hamed was also convicted of
ordering and carrying out a number of strategic “mega-attacks” against Israel’s
infrastructure, buildings, railroad systems and gas depots.
Hamed had been the most wanted fugitive in the West Bank before his 2006 arrest,
having narrowly eluded capture on at least two occasions.
security forces managed to kill two of Hamed’s lieutenants in Ramallah, but he
got away at the last minute.
His capture was orchestrated by a
combination of elite policemen from the Yamam anti-terror unit, backed by Dukifat
infantry, who surrounded a two-story home in the al-Balua neighborhood based on
intelligence provided by the Shin Bet that Hamed was holed up inside.
the time, Hamed refused to surrender and was only captured after soldiers opened
fire and after a bulldozer rammed the building, threatening to bring it
Unlike most terrorists interrogated by the Shin Bet, Hamed never
admitted to any of the allegations against him during questioning.