Hamas Engineer Convicted of Terror Offenses in Plea Bargain; Could Get 21 Years

'Father of the rockets' Dirar Abu Sisi was commander of Islamist groups's military wing, has been in Israeli custody for the past four years.

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Hamas engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, who the Shin Bet calls the 'father of the rockets,' pictured in Israel custody in 2011.
Hamas engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, who the Shin Bet calls the 'father of the rockets,' pictured in Israel custody in 2011.Credit: Ilan Assayag

The Be’er Sheva District Court convicted Dirar Abu Sisi, known in the Shin Bet security service as the “father of the rockets,” in a plea bargain arrangement. Abu Sisi, an engineer, is said to have been responsible for extending the range of Hamas’s Kassam rockets.

Smoke trailing rockets fired from Gaza at Israel in July 2014.Credit: Reuters

The prosecution will ask the court to sentence Abu Sisi to 21 years in jail.

Abu Sisi has been under arrest in Israel for four years, As the commander of the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, he was a senior partner in the production of missiles and mortars of various types, and of developing and extending the range of rockets used to fire into Israel.

Abu Sisi was convicted on Thursday after he admitted to the charges, according to the updated indictment from which many of the original charges of attempted murder were dropped, while those of belonging to an unauthorized organization, planning to commit murder, producing weapons, activity in a terror organization and other weapons charges all remained.

Under the plea bargain it was agreed that the prosecution would demand a sentence of 21 years imprisonment. The indictment against Abu Sisi was first served in April 2011, and since then the sides have produced evidence and heard many witnesses. The official reason for the plea bargain is the difficulty in producing visual evidence that would prove the charges of attempted murder.

According to the indictment served by attorney Moraz Gez of the Southern District prosecution, after Operation Cast Lead, “Abu Sisi was appointed by Mohammed Deif and Ahmed Jabari to set up a military academy. In this role he built a program that would serve as the basis for establishing such a military academy and that traiSns to this day the command level of Hamas for the purpose of hostile activity against Israel. Abu Sisi has a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from a military academy in Ukraine, and in the past even specialized in control mechanisms for Scud missiles. During his studies in Ukraine he acquired great experience in the field of developing and controlling missiles. In his interrogation he recounted his part in Hamas’ array of missiles and the improvements he introduced in the organization’s ability to launch missiles.”

According to the indictment, Abu Sisi was a member of Hamas when the organization wanted to tap his expertise to develop new weapons.

He was appointed a central member of the committee that is responsible for developing the Qassam rockets, especially the fins that stabilize them. In the years preceding his arrest he concentrated on extending the range of the rockets from six kilometers to 22 kilometers, and improving their ability to penetrate armored vehicles.

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