An Israeli military court on Wednesday convicted a Hamas terrorist of responsibility for some of the most murderous bombings in the Palestinians’ second intifada campaign of terrorism a decade ago.
The Ofer military court found Ibrahim Hamed, the former commander of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank during the second intifada, guilty of the murder of 46 Israelis in terrorist attacks throughout the country. He was also found guilty of eight counts of attempted homicide.
The military prosecution recommended that Hamed receive 56 life sentences. His sentencing was scheduled for early next week.
Hamed, described by former Minister of Internal Security and ex-Shin Bet director Avi Dichter as an “arch terrorist,” was found responsible by the court for engineering multiple suicide bombings, including the December 2001 attack on Zion Square in Jerusalem; the bombing at Cafe Moment, also in the capital, in March 2002; the May 2002 attack on the Sheffield club in Rishon Lezion; the bombing at the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at Hebrew University in June 2002; and the attack at Cafe Hillel in September 2003 in Jerusalem.
Hamed, 47, a native of the Palestinian town of Silwad near Ramallah, became a Hamas functionary in the late 1980s. In 2001 he was released from a Palestinian Authority prison and began planning the lethal series of suicide attacks. He was arrested in 2006 by Israeli authorities following a protracted manhunt. In 2003 Israel demolished his home and deported his wife and children to Jordan.
Hamed’s lawyer, Saleh Hamid, claimed Wednesday that the prosecution had no evidence against his client. He said Hamed — who refused to give testimony during the trial — does not acknowledge the Israeli court’s authority to arbitrate the charges.
Hamas repeatedly attempted, unsuccessfully, to secure Hamed’s release during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, in which more than a thousand Palestinians were freed from Israeli jails, last year.