In an interview with World Israel News, an expert on Palestinian Islamic terror groups praises Israel’s security forces for capturing those responsible for the murder of Raziel Shevach within a week, one of whom was a second-generation terrorist.
By: Margot Dudkevitch, World Israel News
One of the interesting facts that emerged from Israel’s counter-terror operation in Jenin on Wednesday is that Ahmed Jarrar, the 22-year-old Hamas terrorist killed during the operation, was a second-generation terrorist, Dr. Dikla Cohen, fellow researcher at the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute, told World Israel News (WIN).
Jarrar’s father Nasser was a high ranking Hamas official and a member of its military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, as well as a known explosives expert who was killed by Israeli security forces 16 years ago during the Second Intifada and in essence paved the way for his son Ahmed.
Following the elimination of Jarrar, who was responsible for the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, Hamas released a statement vowing that the Jenin cell is not the first and not the last. The resistance will not be prevented from standing up to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and from protecting Al-Quds, Hamas stated.
According to Cohen, the terrorist organization’s “historical” response not only refers to US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, but also ties in with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah, who – in a speech made a day after the American president’s announcement – called to create a Third Intifada. “In his speech, Haniyah noted that it was 30 years since the First Intifada, and he called to re-ignite that spark,” Cohen said.
“Hamas is seeking to start a new intifada not only in the West Bank, but also in Jerusalem,” Cohen added. This is also a concern for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is worried that Hamas will gain strength in Judea and Samaria and take over, as it has done in Gaza, she said.
This might explain why the ongoing reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas, mediated by Egypt, have failed to produce results, Cohen told WIN. While coordination between Israel and the Palestinian security forces has prevented Hamas from strengthening its hold in Judea and Samaria, it will be interesting to see what will happen now that Abbas has called to stop all security coordination with Israel, she said.
Exposing Hamas’ terror infrastructure
The investigation into the shooting of Shevach, a 35-year-old father of six, will now focus on gleaning information from the second terrorist captured in Jenin, who was with Jarrar when he was eliminated, Cohen explained. The security establishment will need to examine whether the drive-by shooting was carried out independently or whether the terrorists were part of a cell that received funds, weapons, inspiration and instructions from Hamas.
The breakthrough that led to the Jenin operation came after security forces received intelligence concerning a car found in the city that was used by the terrorists in the shooting attack. This led troops to realize the terrorists had fled to the Jenin area and did not remain in Nablus, as initially assumed. From there they tracked down Jarrar and demolished two homes in Jenin, that of Jarrar’s as well as his uncle’s house, Cohen said.
Cohen noted that at the beginning of 2017 the Israeli security establishment became aware of a new affiliate established by Hamas in Judea and Samaria, aimed at stepping up resistance against Israel. The “West Bank Headquarters” is run by Hamas official Maher Obeid, a 66-year-old Hamas operative who lived in Jordan and belongs to Hamas’ political wing. He currently resides in Beirut, Lebanon, where a number of senior Hamas officials have set up headquarters, she said.
Hamas ties to Iran
However, the fact that Obeid and other Hamas officials have made frequent visits recently to Tehran gives an idea as to where they are getting the funds to orchestrate operations, Cohen noted. The West Bank Headquarters is divided into three geographical sectors, she said, and each is run by one of the Hamas operatives who were released by Israel in the prisoner exchange to secure the freedom in 2011 of IDF soldier and Hamas captive Gilad Shalit. “Due to the dire economic situation in Gaza, Hamas is desperate to strengthen its hold and wage attacks,” she said.
In the coming days, Israel can expect to see widespread unrest throughout Judea and Samaria as well as in the Jerusalem area, which without a doubt will lead to the boosting of security forces not only in Judea and Samaria, but also in and around Jerusalem ahead of Friday’s prayers, Cohen predicts. However, it is the country’s security establishment that must be praised for succeeding within a week to lay their hands on the terrorists responsible for Shevach’s murder, she said.