Jerusalem, 24 November 2001

Israeli Forces Operate against Terrorist Mastermind Abu Hanoud
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

On the evening of 23 November, Hamas terrorist mastermind Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, 34, of Asira Shamalieh, was killed by Israel security forces in an initiated operation near Nablus (Shechem).

Abu Hanoud, a wanted fugitive, and senior commander of Hamas terrorist operations, was personally involved in a lengthy series of bombings directed against Israeli civilians, took part in the overall planning of Hamas operations in the West Bank, was responsible for the wave of suicide bombings in July and September of 1997 in which he dispatched five suicide bombers, and was behind the 1999 suicide bombings in Tiberias and Haifa.

In addition, Abu Hanoud was a senior ‘handler’ in the recent suicide bombings at Sbarro in Jerusalem and the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, and also ‘controlled’ a number of suicide terrorists who were recently intercepted in Tulkarm by Israeli security forced before they carried out their attacks. In the past few days, Hanoud was busy preparing additional suicide attacks against Israel.

In an attempt to apprehend Abu Hanoud in Asira Shamalieh in August 2000, three soldiers of Israel’s elite ‘Duvdevan’ counter-terrorist unit were killed by friendly fire. Abu Hanoud was subsequently arrested by the Palestinian Authority, however, in May 2001, he was released from PA custody and his whereabouts became unknown.

In last night’s operation, two additional terrorist were also killed:

– Aimou Hashaika, 34, of the village of Talouza, a Hamas terrorist operative who served as one of Abu Hanoud’s top lieutenants and assisted in carrying out terrorist attacks.

– Mamoul Hashaika, 30, of the village of Talouza, also a Hamas operative.