Imad Tsalah A-Fatah Qawasma, head of Hamas, arrested in Hebron
(Communicated by Israeli security sources)
In a joint operation of the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the IDF, Imad Tsalah A-Fatah Qawasma, 31, head of the Hamas in Hebron, was arrested this morning in Hebron. Qawasma was arrested during an operation based on intelligence information from the ISA regarding his presence in one of the houses belonging to his family. During the activity one of Qawasma’s houses was demolished.
Qawasma turned himself in to the forces at approximately 10:00 a.m. after an IDF force started to demolish his house
Qawasma had been imprisoned between 1994-1999, due to his membership in a Hamas cell and involvement in manufacturing explosive devices activated against Israeli vehicles. Shortly after his release from prison in 1999, Qawasma returned to terror activity in the Hamas. After September 2000 his role in the Hamas terror organization increased significantly.
In November 2002, Qawasma, along with another Hamas terrorist, enlisted Frass Abu Shidam, a Hamas terrorist from Hebron, and dispatched him to Nablus in order to receive an explosive belt. Abu Shidam was caught with the explosive belt on the way from Nablus to Hebron.
Qawasma worked closely with Basal Qawasma, Az Aladin Misk, Ahmad Badar and Abdallah Qawasma, leading Hamas leaders in Hebron who were responsible for terror attacks carried out in Jerusalem and in the Hebron area during 2003.
In 2003 Qawasma became the head of the Hamas in Hebron. He was responsible for the dispatching and directing numerous suicides and shooting attacks in the areas of Jerusalem, Beer-Sheva and Hebron:
– On August 31 2004 Ahmad Qawasma and Nissim Gaavry, directed by Imad Qawasma, carried out a double suicide bombing attack in Beersheba which resulted in the death of 16 Israelis.
– In June 2004 Qawasma enlisted Alaa Kafisha, a Hamas terrorist from Hebron, to assist Malec Nazar Aladin, a Hamas terrorist from Hebron, to carry out a suicide attack in Jerusalem. After they failed to carry out the suicide attack at the Kafit Cafe in the center of Jerusalem, Nazar Aladin was killed and the other cell members, residents of Hebron and Jerusalem, were arrested.
– Qawasma directed a Hamas cell in Hebron responsible for a series of shooting attacks carried out since January 2004. One of the attacks resulted in the injury of an IDF soldier. Most of the cell members were arrested in July 2004 possessing a large amount of ammunition and weapons.
After the suicide attack in Beersheba, dozens of Hamas terrorists were arrested and investigated. The results of the investigations showed that Imad Qawasma was the director of a wide network of terrorists and assistants guided by Qawasma to plan and carry out suicide and shooting attacks. Some of the terrorists were recently arrested and are now being questioned.