Jailed Hamas bomb maker eyes PA election run

Convicted terrorist Abdallah Barghouti plans to run in May elections; Zahar predicts Hamas landslide in W. Bank, Gaza.

ABDALLAH BARGHOUTI 311 (photo credit: Kerenmalki.org)
(photo credit: Kerenmalki.org)
Abdallah Barghouti, a Hamas bomb maker who is serving 67 life sentences for his role in the killing of dozens of Israelis, is planning to run in the next Palestinian parliamentary election, which is slated for May 2012, sources close to Hamas said Tuesday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently announced that the presidential and parliamentary elections would be held next May, although representatives of the two parties said they were skeptical about the prospects of holding the vote on time.
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Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said Tuesday he expected his movement to score a landslide victory both in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the planned elections.
In a letter to the Hamas leadership, the 39- year-old Barghouti expressed his desire to present his candidacy for membership of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the sources said.
Barghouti has also signaled his desire to contest elections held inside prison by Hamas inmates, the sources added.
In his letter, Barghouti claimed that he had refrained from engaging in political activities over the past nine years. But now, he explained, “I personally feel the need to participate in elections, whether those held inside prison or outside.” Barghouti appealed to the Hamas leadership to help him fulfill his wish of contesting the elections.
Barghouti, who is from the Ramallah area, was arrested by the IDF in 2003. A year later, the IDF military court sentenced him to 67 terms for preparing explosive devices used in a number of terrorist attacks in which 66 Israelis were killed and many others injured.
Barghouti was involved in the 2001 Jerusalem Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing in which 15 civilians were killed and 130 wounded. He was also involved in the terrorist attack on the pedestrian mall on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street the same year.
A year later, he prepared the explosive devices that were used in the terrorist attack in the Sheffield Club in Rishon Lezion in which 15 civilians were killed and 59 wounded.
Barghouti was also found guilty of involvement in the 2002 Moment Café suicide bombing, in which 11 civilians were killed and 65 wounded, the Hebrew University attack that killed nine civilians and wounded 81, and the terrorist attack on a bus on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv the same year that killed six civilians and wounded 84.