Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’s military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who was killed by Israel in an airstrike Wednesday, planned the abduction of Gilad Shalit and personally handed over the Israeli soldier during a prisoner exchange last year.
IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai described him in an interview with the Jerusalem Post as a man with “a lot of blood on his hands.”
Jabari was first arrested in 1982, at the age of 22, for his involvement with Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. He spent 13 years in prison, during which time he became a member of Hamas. In 1995 he was released and immediately joined the administrative ranks of the terror organization.
In 2000 Jabari was named assistant to Hamas Military Commander Saleh Shehadeh. He first became the operational head of Hamas’s military wing in 2002 at the height of the second Intifada, after Shehadeh was assassinated by Israel, though Mohammed Deif became the nominal Military Commander.
In 2004 Israel tried to target him in his home by airstrike but succeeded only in wounding him, several of his family members who were with him were killed in the strike
In 2006 Mohammed Deif was severely injured in an attempt on his life and Jabari assumed the head leadership role.
Jabari had been a major force in Hamas’ ouster of the PA from the Gaza Strip in 2007 and had made it clear in the past that his intentions were to derail any peace negotiations between Israel and the Arabs.
In the decade in which he ran al-Qassam Brigades thousands of rockets were fired into Israel. Jabari, who spoke Hebrew, was responsible for maintaining, and even enhancing the terror campaign by Hamas against Israeli citizens. He told Egypt’s Al-Hayat newspaper shortly after Shalit’s release that Hamas’ demands had been mostly met by Israel. He did note, however, that 41 prisoners had instead been deported as opposed to being released into Gaza as they alone were responsible for the deaths of 569 Israelis.
A video of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange can be viewed below.