(Communicated by the GPO)

10.9.2003 Mahmoud al-Zahar – one of the leading Hamas terrorists – is responsible for the perpetrating of a large number of deadly terror attacks. He is also involved in intensive and unrestrained incitement against Israel. Mahmoud al-Zahar was expelled to Lebanon in 1992; in 1997, he was appointed to the senior Hamas leadership and has close connections to Sheik Yassin.

The Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip functions as the general military wing for the entire terror organization and is the highest level at which the perpetrating of terror attacks is approved. It also has strong connections with Hamas terrorists around the world, especially in Syria, and is heavily involved in the recruitment of Israeli Arabs. On 12.8.2003, during the ceasefire, Hamas perpetrated a suicide bombing at the petrol station at the entrance to Ariel, in which two Israeli citizens were murdered and three others were wounded. Hamas was also responsible for the breakdown of the ceasefire following the fatal 19.8.2003 suicide bombing of the Egged #2 bus in Jerusalem (www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0npz0), in which 22 Israelis, including children and babies, were murdered and 115 were wounded. Despite the fact that Hamas had accepted the terms of the ceasefire, its leadership continued its terrorist actions and used the ceasefire as an opportunity to rebuild the terrorist infrastructure, to advance its military capabilities and to plan terror attacks for the day after the ceasefire ended. The results of these preparations were seen in the horrifying suicide bombings that Hamas perpetrated yesterday in Tzrifin and Jerusalem, in which 14 civilians and soldiers were murdered and dozens were wounded.