(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Hamas senior activist Ismail Abu Shanab was killed during an IDF military operation in Gaza earlier today, Thursday, 21.8.2003. Abu Shanab was a senior Hamas terrorist who was in close contact with Hamas leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin and acted as deputy Hamas leader when he was abroad.

Abu Shanab had been imprisoned in Israel for a period of 10 years as a result of his activities, and had admitted to being involved in planning and carrying out the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Ilan Sa’adon. Abu Shanab, continued to support the violent campaign waged by Hamas, including perpetrating terror attacks against Israeli targets, was appointed as one of the Hamas spokesmen and was involved in building its infrastructure. Abu Shanab, in his position as one of the Hamas leaders, was responsible for policy decisions and directing and approving military operations. The Palestinian terror organizations, including the military wing of Hamas, accepted the ceasefire agreement of 29th June 2003. Despite this, Hamas leaders, during this period, continued to plan intensive terrorist actions, including suicide bombings, rebuilding terrorist infrastructure and laying the groundwork for perpetrating further attacks. The Palestinian Authority had also committed itself to work against terrorist activities, but had failed to do so, and even remained passive vis-ŕ-vis terrorist operations after this week’s terror attack on bus number 2 in Jerusalem. During the ceasefire, Hamas perpetrated two disastrous terror attacks and in addition carried out one Kassam missile attack: 19th August 2003 – Suicide bombing on bus number 2 in central Jerusalem where 20 civilians were murdered and over 120 injured, including many children and babies. The terror attack was perpetrated by Hamas terrorists in Hebron. 12th August 2003 – Suicide bombing at a gas station at the entrance to Ariel where one Israeli was murdered and 3 others injured. The terror attack was perpetrated by Hamas terrorists from Nablus. 9th August 2003 – Kassam rocket missile attack at Sderot.