Who is Mohammed Deif and why does Israel want him dead?
For those who don't know yet why Israel is so anxious to see Mohammed Deif dead
Deif was behind the kidnappings and murders of Israeli
soldiers Shahar Simani in April 1994 and Aryeh Frankenthal in July 1994.
In October 1994 he played a major role in running the terror cell that
kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman: He handed the
orders to the cell that held Wachsman in a safe house in the village of
Bir Naballah near Jerusalem.
Deif was also involved in
the bus bombings that took place during that time. The assassination of
Ayyash in December 1995 intensified his desire for revenge. Shortly
afterward, Shimon Peres, who was prime minister at the time, and Moshe
Ya’alon, the head of the army’s Intelligence Directorate, met with
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Ya’alon warned Arafat
about Deif’s plans and demanded that the PA act decisively against
Hamas. Arafat disregarded Ya’alon’s warning, asking Dahlan, “Mohammed,
The Israelis were furious. Officials of the
army’s Intelligence Directorate and the Shin Bet security service knew
perfectly well that Dahlan had met with Deif shortly before. In the
past, Ya’alon cited that meeting as the point when he finally woke up
regarding Arafat’s intentions.
Less than two months later, in February
1996, Deif was behind a week of deadly bus bombings in Jerusalem and
Ashkelon in which about 50 Israelis were killed. (Islamic Jihad in the
Gaza Strip took responsibility for one of the bus bombings.)
was the sign for a last-ditch Palestinian attempt to suppress Hamas and
Islamic Jihad. The PA arrested hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad
operatives, including Deif, who spent the following years in and out of
prison. Some of the prisoners had half of their beards shaved off to
humiliate them. But Deif continued his work from prison in Gaza, and was
even released at times by the PA.
accused him of involvement in various attempted terror attacks,
including sending five suicide terrorists into Israel in March 2000.
Police officers of Yamam, the civilian counter-terrorism unit, killed
the five would-be attackers in Taibeh in the Triangle, an area of
Israeli Arab towns and villages located between the center of the
country and the Haifa region.
The PA released Deif from
prison, this time for good, in April 2001, together with dozens of Hamas
and Islamic Jihad operatives. These were the “engineers” who were
behind the wave of bombing attacks that took place over the next several
months. Most of them, mainly those who lived in the West Bank, were
eliminated by Israel.
Deif resumed his natural place in
Hamas, subordinate to Shehadeh (who had been released from an Israeli
prison in 2000). He established a relatively secret, independent group
of his own within Hamas’s military wing to carry out terror attacks.
This group’s members, who were under his direct command, specialized in
missions that it defined as “high-quality attacks,” such as the series
of attacks on Elei Sinai and Dugit in the northern Gaza Strip, in which
three Israelis were killed.
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An indictment submitted to
the military court at the Erez border crossing in 2000 charged Deif with
direct involvement in planning severe terror attacks in the Gaza Strip.
According to the indictment, Deif was behind the terror attack on the
pre-army academy in Atzmona in Gush Katif in March 2000, killing five of
the students there. He also issued orders, directed the operations
personally and was involved to the last detail in “routine” terror
attacks, even preparing the explosive device himself in one case. In
other cases, he taught operatives how to prepare explosive devices.
. We have too many reasons to want Deif dead. Hopefully, if it did not happen last night, it will happen soon.
Labels: Gaza, Hamas, Mohammed Deif, Palestinian suicide bombers, Palestinian terrorism