Palestinian engineer Dirar Abu Sis in court 311 (R).
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Calling him the “rocket godfather” of the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) filed an indictment on Monday against Dirar Abu Sisi, a
Palestinian engineer from Gaza, detailing his rise to prominence as Hamas’s
leading missile developer.
Abu Sisi, a director of the Gaza Strip’s sole
power station, was reportedly abducted by Israel over a month ago as he was
traveling on a train in Ukraine and brought to Israel for interrogation. On
Monday, mystery continued to surround the details of his capture and how he was
transferred to the Jewish state.
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According to the indictment, Abu Sisi
received his doctorate at the Kharkov Military Engineering Academy and studied
under Prof. Konstantin Petrovich, an expert in Scud missile control
During his studies, Abu Sisi acquired extensive knowledge in
missile development, control systems, propulsion and rocket
After returning to the Gaza Strip and parallel to his work
as an engineer for the Gaza electric company, Abu Sisi was secretly recruited
into Hamas by the military commander of the terrorist organization at the time, Salah
Shehadeh, and began working as one of their leading engineers for short- and
Abu Sisi not only developed missiles in Gaza but was
also, according to the charge sheet, responsible for upgrading thousands of
older rockets and increasing their range and penetration
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According to the indictment, which was filed on Monday in
the Beersheba District Court, Abu Sisi was charged with membership in a
terrorist organization, conspiracy to commit a crime, the production of illegal
weaponry, assistance to an illegal organization, and a variety of other
During his interrogation, officials said, Abu Sisi provided
valuable intelligence information on Hamas’s military wing, its different
branches and the decision-making process within the terror group.
2002, Abu Sisi met Sheikh Nizar Rayan, a spiritual leader of Hamas’s military
wing, who was later assassinated during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. Rayan
introduced Abu Sisi to various senior Hamas operatives, including Shehadeh. Due
to his education as an engineer, Abu Sisi was asked by Shehadeh to assist in
developing weaponry for Hamas.
He later joined a committee that was
responsible for the research and development of weaponry, and was tasked with
electrical engineering, dealing mostly with developing boosters and fins that
stabilized and enhanced the range of Hamas’s arsenal of rockets.
the committee asked Abu Sisi to begin working on increasing the range of rockets
manufactured domestically in the Gaza Strip. Due to his involvement, Hamas was
able to increase the range of the rockets from 6 km. to 9 km., and subsequently
to 15 km.
In 2007, Abu Sisi assisted Hamas in increasing the rockets’
range to 22 km. He was then asked to increase the range to between 37 km. and 45
km., and participated in several experiments during which rockets were tested
and fired into the Mediterranean.
These attempts did not
One of the anti-tank missiles that Abu Sisi helped develop is
the Yassin, which has the ability to penetrate between 16 cm. and 26 cm. of
reinforced steal. He also worked to increase the penetration to 37
Abu Sisi also developed an anti-tank mortar shell called Abu Rassin,
which has a range of 100 meters and can penetrate 87 cm. of steel. He later made
efforts to increase penetration to 100 cm, and worked on another anti-tank
missile called Al Batar, which has a 100-m. range.
With Abu Sisi’s aid,
Hamas translated Russian manuals of the Igla-S shoulder-to-air missile into
After Operation Cast Lead in 2009, Hamas asked Abu Sisi to help
establish a military academy in the Gaza Strip. In this position, Abu Sisi
created a plan for the school that included three main subjects: military,
administration and religion.
The plan was then submitted to various Hamas
leaders during meetings in Abu Sisi’s house in 2009. In 2010, according to the
indictment, Abu Sisi met with Hamas operatives from Syria during a trip to
Abu Sisi denies wrongdoing and has said he was not a member of the
He is married to a Ukrainian, and his relatives say he went
to arrange residency in Ukraine for himself and his family.
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