Marwan Barghouti (AP)
Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti in August 2002. Photo by AP
Text size

The list of Palestinian prisoners that Hamas wanted released as part of a exchange deal to secure the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit includes many names rejected by past Israeli governments as being too dangerous to release.

Ibrahim Hamed: One of the most prominent names in the list, Hamed is the chief of Hamas  military operations in the West Bank. Hamed's release was considered a "red line" by Shin Bet officials, who considere him to be an extremely dangerous individual, endowed with leadership skills, operational vision, and creativity.

In 2009, Hamed was part of a list of prisoners whom former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused to release, since he was considered to be "an extremely dangerous" role model.

The Shin Bet attributes the murder of 90 Israelis to Hamed; among other attacks, he was responsible for three attacks in Jerusalem - at Café Moment, the Hebrew University and in Zion Square. He is also behind several shooting attacks across the West Bank.

Hamed was apprehended in 2006, but has not admitted to the crimes attributed to him during interrogation.

Shin Bet officials claim that Hamed has continued masterminding terror attacks during his imprisonment, including one unsuccessful kidnapping attempt at the Rimonim junction, east of Ramallah. He has been in solitary confinement since that attempt.

Abdullah Barghouti: Another key name on the newly released list, Barghouti is Hamed's partner and an engineering student from Kuwait who arrived in the West Bank following his marriage.

Barghouti's prowess as a bomb builder was soon picked up by Hamas, prompting the Kuwaiti national to construct lethal and sophisticated explosive devices.

He constructed the devices which were used in the attacks on the Sheffield Club in Rishon Letzion, at the Hebrew University, Café Moment, Zion Square, and in Tel Aviv's deadly Bus 5 suicide bombing.

Shin Bet officials fear that Barghouti will pass on his bomb-building know-how to others upon his release. At present, the West Bank does not contain any bomb experts.

In 2004, Barghouti was convicted of the murder of 66 Israelis and was given 67 life sentences - the largest number of life sentences ever handed down in Israel's history. He has been in complete solitary confinement since his capture. Recently, he has claimed to have gone insane, and sought to see his family and be taken out of solitary confinement.

Mohammad Arman: Another accomplice of Hamed and Barghouti, Arman enlisted the Silwan terror squad that executed the bombings themselves, briefed them, and supplied them with bombs.

Hassan Salameh:  A prisoner from Gaza, who until now Israel was unwilling to release. He is linked to retaliation attacks against Israelis in the wake of the assassination of Hamas strongman Yihyeh Ayash. Salameh was convicted of initiating twin simultaneous attacks in an Ashkelon bus station and on bus number 18 in Jerusalem. A week later, he was responsible for another attack on another bus 18. He was convicted for the murders of 46 Israelis.

Salameh has been in solitary confinement since his arrest. He is considered to be a revered figure in Gaza, and one of the founders of Hamas' military wing.

Marwan Barghouti: One of the prominent names on the list of prisoners requested by Hamas, Barghouti is a leading figure in Fatah and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who had formerly opposed attacks within Israel.

In 2002, he was arrested and tried at Tel Aviv District Court. He refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court or cooperate during the trial, and was given five life sentences for orders which resulted in the deaths of five Israelis.

Ahmed Saadat: The secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Saadat's activities include ordering the murder of former Israeli minister Rehavam Ze'evi.