Israel Files Indictment Against Alleged Palestinian 'Father of Rockets'

After nearly 40 days in custody, Dirar Abu Sisi has been charged over allegations that he is a close confidant of Hamas military leaders and instrumental in developing their rocket cache.

Israel's Southern District Prosecution on Monday filed an indictment against Palestinian engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, suspected by the Shin Bet to be a confidant of Hamas military leaders and instrumental in developing their rocket cache.

Dirar Abu Sisi, a director of the Gaza Strip's sole power station, says he was kidnapped during a visit to Ukraine in February and transferred secretly to Israel.

Abu Sisi - Daniel Bar-On - March 31, 2011
Daniel Bar-On

After nearly 40 days in custody, the Be'er Sheva court handed down a 15-page indictment against Abu Sisi, revealing the allegations at the heart of the mysterious case.

"Abu Sisi was engaged in the development of missiles to be launched by Hamas, including increasing their range and ability to pierce steel so as to penetrate armored vehicles and thus strike at soldiers," a summary of the indictment said.

"Abu Sisi is accused of nine charges regarding activity in a terrorist organization, hundreds of counts of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and production of weaponry offenses," it added.
The Shin Bet has nicknamed Abu Sisi the "father of rockets", and said the suspect divulged important information about the Hamas' military wing during his month-long investigation.

Abu Sisi denies wrongdoing and Hamas has said he was not a member of their organization. Sisi is married to a Ukrainian and his relatives say he went to Ukraine to arrange residency there for himself and his family.

Ukraine says Abu Sisi's disappearance is under investigation. Israel has not provided details on how the Palestinian came into its custody, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week it was a "legal arrest".

Monday's indictment names a Ukrainian professor at the Kharkov Military Engineering Academy as Abu Sisi's mentor. It said "Konstantin Petrovich" was an expert in Scud missile control systems.

"Abu Sisi acquired extensive knowledge in missile development, control systems, propulsion and stabilization. Parallel to his work as an engineer for the Gaza electric company, Abu Sisi secretly joined Hamas," the summary added.

Last week, the German weekly Der Spiegel suggested Abu Sisi has information about abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, which Abu Sisi has denied.

During the court discussion on Monday, Abu Sisi rejected all charges levied against him. "I am not guilty. I have no connection to security operations against Israel, and I have no connection to Gilad Shalit. When they saw I had no connection to Gilad Shalit, they decided to charge me with other security offenses, to which I also have no relation," he said.

Israel Police requested to extend Abu Sisi's remand until all judicial procedures on his case are concluded.

In an interview with Army Radio on Monday, Abu Sisi's sister said that Israeli authorities are violating her brother's basic rights. His relatives deny that Abu Sisi has any connection to Hamas.