Notorious terrorists among prisoners set free in Shalit deal

Thursday, October 20, 2011 | by jta staff

In exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Israel agreed to free 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners.

The first 477, agreed upon with Hamas, were released Oct. 18. Most had been serving life sentences, and they included the organizers or perpetrators of many of the most infamous terrorist attacks against Israelis over the past several decades.

The remaining 550 will be chosen by Israel and released in two months.

The United States expressed objections to Israel about some of the prisoners, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said this week, but he added that the details of the negotiations with Hamas were Israel’s “sovereign decision.”

Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit arrive at the Rafah crossing border in the Gaza Strip.   photo/jta/abed rahim khatib
Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit arrive at the Rafah crossing border in the Gaza Strip. photo/jta/abed rahim khatib
Shortly after her release, one of the female prisoners, Wafa al Biss, told schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip that she hopes they follow her lead, Reuters reported.

“God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs,” Reuters reported her saying.

Biss was detained by Israeli soldiers at the Erez border crossing in 2005 as she was on her way to Beersheva’s Soroka Hospital with 22 pounds of explosives sewn into her underwear. She was sentenced to 12 years.

The following are some of the more notorious terrorists let out of prison as part of the deal:

Abdel Hadi Ghanem: In July 1989, during the first intifada, Gaza resident Abdel Hadi Ghanem grabbed the steering wheel of a Tel Aviv–to–Jerusalem bus on Israel’s main highway and steered it into a ravine. Sixteen people were killed.

Yihia al Sinwar: A founder of Hamas’ military wing, Yihia al Sinwar was involved in the October 1994 kidnapping of Sgt. Nachshon Wachsman, an Israeli soldier with American citizenship. Wachsman was killed by his captors during a rescue attempt several days later by Israeli commandos. Sinwar’s brother is believed to have been an organizer of Shalit’s abduction.

Aziz Salha: In October 2000, Aziz Salha produced one of the most horrifying images of the second intifada. He was photographed proudly waving his bloodstained hands out of the window of a Ramallah police station after participating in a lynch mob that broke into the building and beat to death two Israeli reservists who had been taken into Palestinian custody after making a wrong turn into the city.

Mona Awana: In January 2001, West Bank resident Mona Awana, pretending to be an American with a romantic interest in an Israeli high school student, used the Internet to lure 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to meet her in Jerusalem. They then drove Rahum to a prearranged location on Ramallah’s outskirts, where he was shot and killed by Palestinian gunmen.

Fuad Amrin: In May 1992, Gaza resident Fuad Amrin stabbed to death 15-year-old Helena Rapp on her way to school in the Israeli city of Bat Yam.

Husam Badran: As the leader of Hamas’ military wing in the northern West Bank, Husam Badran was the instigator of several of the deadliest suicide bombings of the second intifada, including the 2001 bombing attacks on a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem (15 killed), the Dolphinarium discotheque bombing in Tel Aviv (21 killed), the 2002 suicide bombings of a Passover seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya (30 killed), and the bombing of the Matza restaurant in Haifa (15 killed). More than 100 people were killed in terrorist attacks directed by Badran.

Tamimi Ahlam: In August 2001, Tamimi Ahlam, a female university student and journalist, led a male suicide bomber to the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria where he detonated himself, killing 15 people.

Walid Anajas: Hamas operative Walid Anajas assisted with the 2002 suicide bombings at Jerusalem’s Café Moment (11 killed) and a gaming club in Rishon LeTzion (16 killed), and the remotely detonated bombing of a cafeteria at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which killed nine people, including four Americans.