Ofra and Givat Assaf terrorists reported to be Barghouti brothers

The Barghouti brothers belong to a clan whose members are famous for carrying out a series of terrorist attacks against Israel in the past four decades.

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December 20, 2018 15:04
3 minute read.
Palestinian Hamas militants attend the funeral of their comrades who were killed in an explosion, in

Palestinian Hamas militants attend the funeral of their comrades who were killed in an explosion, in the central Gaza Strip May 6, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

 
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Twelve hours after the Ofra terrorist, Saleh Omar Barghouti was assassinated, it's suspected that his brother As'am Barghouti was the terrorist who carried out the attack in Givat Assaf, Palestinian media reported on Thursday.

Saleh Omar Barghouti, 29, the son of West Bank Hamas leader Omar Barghouti, from the village of Kobar, shot and injured seven Israeli civilians at a bus stop outside of the Ofra settlement on December 9. Among the wounded was a pregnant woman who gave birth prematurely. Her baby boy died three days later.

Security forces are now conducting a wide-scale hunt for his brother As'am Barghouti, 32, who murdered two IDF soldiers, and critically wounded another soldier at Givat Assaf on December 13.

The Barghouti brothers belong to a clan whose members are famous for carrying out a series of terrorist attacks against Israel in the past four decades.

Saleh was the most recent member of the prominent Barghouti clan to be involved in terrorist attacks against Israel. The clan has several families that live in the villages of Kobar, Aboud, Bani Zeid and Beit Rima in the Ramallah area. Saleh was from Kobar.

Saleh’s father, Omar, 65, spent more than 25 years in Israeli prison for his role in terrorism. The father was first arrested by the IDF in 1978 for killing an Israeli citizen and was sentenced to life in prison. However, Omar, who is known as Abu Asef, was released seven years later in a prison exchange. Since then, he has been repeatedly held in administrative detention for several years. Omar entered Israeli prison as a member of Fatah, but later became a prominent leader of Hamas.

A clan member also named Omar Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS). Omar was born in Qatar.

Saleh’s uncle, Na’el, is the longest-serving Palestinian inmate in Israeli prison. Born in 1957 in Kobar, Na’el has spent a total of 39 years in Israeli prison for his role in terrorism. Like his brother Omar, he too was arrested for the first time in 1978. Na’el was released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange swap, but was rearrested years later.


Another family member, 64-year-old Fakhri Barghouti (a cousin of the brothers Omar and Na’el), was also arrested in 1978 for carrying out a terrorist attack in which an Israeli soldier was killed near Ramallah. He too was released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange agreement.

Another clan member, Abdullah Barghouti, 39, was a senior commander of Hamas’s military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, in the West Bank. Once considered as one of Hamas’s chief bomb makers, he is currently serving 67 life term sentences in Israeli prison for his role in a series of suicide bombings during the Second Intifada. Israel refused to release Abdullah in the 2011 prisoner swap.

One of the clan members, Mustafa Barghouti, from the village of Bani Zeid, is a prominent Palestinian physician and political activist who serves as Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, an independent political party. In November 2004, Mustafa, a vocal critic of Israel, was the main challenger of PA President Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian presidential election. An outspoken critic of the leadership, he received only 19.8% of the vote.

But the most famous member of the clan is Marwan Barghouti, 59, who is also from the village of Kobar. A senior member of Fatah, he was arrested by the IDF in 2002 after becoming one of the leaders of the Second Intifada. Marwan was tried and convicted on charges of murder, and sentenced to five life sentences.


Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.


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