After years of evading capture, the IDF nabbed a top Hamas operative in Ramallah overnight Sunday who was behind a series of terrorist attacks starting in the 1990s that killed dozens of Israelis.

Maher Ouda, a Hamas military commander in Ramallah, was arrested in a joint IDF, Israel Police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation. He was involved in the Café Hillel bombing in Jerusalem and an attack at a hitchhiking post for soldiers outside a main entrance to the Tzrifin army base and Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, near Rishon Lezion, that together killed 16 Israelis and wounded more than 80 within six hours on September 9, 2003.

From Ein Yabrud, 7 km. northeast of Ramallah, Ouda, 47, was one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing and was involved in attacks that led to the deaths of dozens of Israelis. He has been on Israel’s most wanted list since the late 1990s.

“He has a lot of blood on his hands,” a source in the IDF Central Command said. “This shows that we have the ability to get to people even years after they perpetrated their attacks.”

Ouda became involved in terrorism two decades ago, when he founded a Hamas cell in Yabrud. The cell kidnapped and interrogated Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel and acquired weapons that were used in anti-Israel terrorist attacks. The Palestinian Authority detained Ouda for questioning in 1998 and he was interred in a PA prison for several months and released.

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