Top Hamas operative, wanted for 16 years, arrested by IDF

Ayyub al-Kawasma, a leader of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank, involved in several terror attacks, IDF says

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative. IDF troops in the West Bank city of Hebron (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
Illustrative. IDF troops in the West Bank city of Hebron (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

A top operative of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank who was suspected of being involved in the planning of several terror attacks was arrested during an IDF raid in Hebron, the Israeli military said Tuesday.

Ayyub al-Kawasma, 50, had been on Israel’s wanted list since 1998. He had allegedly taken part in organizing terror activities during the Second Intifada, which began in 2000, Ynet reported.

Kawasma was released from Palestinian Authority custody two weeks ago and immediately began organizing terror activities for Hamas, the IDF said.

He had served time in a PA prison since 2010.

He had been in hiding since being released from PA custody, and was arrested after a Shin Bet investigation uncovered his location.

Palestinian sources reported that an undercover IDF unit arrived in a car with Palestinian license plate and arrested Kawasma at his family’s store in Hebron. He was then taken in for questioning at nearby army base.

Following Kawasma’s arrest, IDF soldiers confiscated a computer as well as cameras that were around the store, Ynet reported.

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