Court convicts Hamas W. Bank head of 46 murders

Hamed planned attacks: Zion Square December 2001, Cafe Moment March 2002, Hebrew University July 2002.

A masked Hamas man holds a gun 370 (R) (photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)
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 others.
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.
Lieberman 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 him.
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.
The secretive Hamed had been the most wanted fugitive in the West Bank before his 2006 arrest, having narrowly eluded capture on at least two occasions.
In 2004, 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.
A 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 down.
Unlike most terrorists interrogated by the Shin Bet, Hamed never admitted to any of the allegations against him during questioning.