Hamas rocket whiz gets 21 years in jail

Dirar Abu Sissi has PhD from Ukrainian military academy, said to have helped hugely increase Kassam missiles’ range

Dirar Abu Sissi (YouTube screenshot)
Dirar Abu Sissi (YouTube screenshot)

The Beersheba District Court on Thursday convicted Hamas engineer Dirar Abu Sissi and sentenced him to 21 years in jail, four years after Israel nabbed the infamous rocket maker.

Abu Sissi, known by the sobriquet the “father of rockets,” was convicted as part of a plea bargain that saw him charged with conspiracy to commit murder, arms manufacture, membership in a terror organization and possession of weapons.

Prosecutors did not, however, seek an attempted murder charge.

The Hamas engineer has been held in Israel since he was reportedly grabbed while traveling in Ukraine in 2011, according to foreign media.

He was an official with the military college of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and was involved in increasing the range of Kassam rockets from six kilometers to 22 kilometers. His worked centered mainly on the rocket’s stabilizer fins and fuel chambers.

He was also involved in the production of various types of projectiles, including mortar shells and several types of rockets.

The indictment was served in 2011, and the trial took nearly four years, since the prosecution had trouble proving a direct connection between Abu Sissi’s work and the charges of attempted murder.

The defendant holds a PhD in electric engineering from the Military Academy of Engineering in Ukraine, and has also taken courses on the control systems of Scud-type missiles.

According to international media outlets, he was abducted while traveling to Kiev by train with his wife, en route to take out a visa and immigrate to Ukraine. He was then flown to Israel accompanied by Israeli agents against his will.

Other sources quoted by Israeli daily Haaretz said he was arrested by Ukrainian authorities cooperating with Israeli security officials and was deported.

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