Ahmed Said Khalil Jabari was the most-senior Hamas official to be killed by
Israel since Operation Cast Lead four years ago.
Jabari, officially the
second in command of Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades, but its de facto leader,
has long been at the top of Israel’s most wanted list.
He has been
credited with making the terrorist group’s military wing increasingly more
It was Jabari who personally oversaw the kidnapping and
imprisonment of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
A shadowy figure who
deliberately kept a low profile and rarely made public appearances, such was his
involvement in the Schalit kidnapping that he allowed himself to be photographed
last October as he escorted the IDF soldier to Gaza’s Rafah Crossing on the day
of his release last year.
After Schalit’s release, Jabari said Hamas
planned to kidnap more Israeli soldiers and officers, to use them as bargaining
chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
The Hamas military-wing
leader even boasted to the Al- Hayat al-Ayoun newspaper that most of the
terrorists released in the first wave of the deal to free Schalit had been
collectively responsible for murdering 569 Israeli civilians.
Hamas member, who was born in 1960 in Gaza City’s Shujaiyya district, started
out as a member of rival movement Fatah.
In 1982, sometime after Jabari
graduated from university, the Israeli authorities arrested him and sentenced
him to a 13-year jail term for planning terrorist attacks.
prison, Jabari met several Hamas members, including the terror group’s cofounder
Abdel Aziz Rantissi.
By the time he left prison in 1995, Jabari had
abandoned Fatah to join Hamas, becoming involved in the terror group’s military
activities in the Gaza Strip.
Three years later, in 1998, the Palestinian
Authority arrested Jabari for his involvement in Hamas’s military activities in
Gaza. When Jabari was released in 1999, he resumed those
Jabari’s rise through the ranks of Hamas is evident from the
fact that by 2002, when the leader of Hamas’s military wing, Muhammad Deif, was
injured in an air strike, it was Jabari who was chosen to take over as