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Monday, April 04, 2011

Abducted Gaza engineer indicted for developing rockets, helping Hamas

From JPost:
Dirar Abu Sisi was Hamas's leading missile developer according to an indictment filed Monday at the Beersheba District Court. Abu Sisi was reportedly abducted by Israel over a month ago as he was traveling on a train in Ukraine and brought to Israel for interrogation.

According to the indictment, Abu Sisi received his doctorate in engineering in Ukraine in the 1990s and studied with some of the leading Ukrainian military engineers. After returning to the Gaza Strip, he was recruited into Hamas by the military commander of the terrorist organization at the time, Salah Shehada, and began working as one of their leading engineers for short- and long-range missiles.

Abu Sisi not only developed missiles in Gaza but was also responsible for upgrading thousands of older rockets and increasing their range and penetration capabilities. According to the indictment that was filed Monday in the Beersheba District Court, Abu Sisi was charged with membership in a terrorist organization, conspiracy to commit a crime, and the production of illegal weaponry, assistance to an illegal organization and other various crimes.

Abu Sisi was the commander of the Izzadin Kassam military college and worked closely with Ahmed al-Jabari, the head of Hamas's military wing. He is the main developer of the Kassam rocket, as well as anti-tank missiles in the Gaza Strip.

Known as the "Rocket Godfather of Hamas," Abu Sisi provided valuable intelligence information during his hearing on Hamas's military wing, its different branches and the decision making process within Hamas.

In 2002, Abu Sisi was recruited into Hamas by Sheikh Nizar Rayan, a spiritual leader of Hamas's military wing who was later assassinated during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. Rayan introduced Abu Sisi to various senior Hamas operatives including Saleh Shehada. Due to his education as an engineer, Abu Sisi was asked by Shehada to assist him in developing weaponry for Hamas.

He later joined a committee that was responsible for the research and development for weaponry headed by Mohammed Def. In the committee Abu Sisi was responsible for electrical engineering and dealt mostly with developing boosters and fins that stabilized and enhanced rocket propulsion. These are two factors that are key for increasing a rocket's range and subsequent penetration of a target.

In 2005, Abu Sisi was asked by the committee to begin working on increasing the range of rockets that were manufactured domestically in the Gaza Strip. Due to his involvement Hamas, he was able to increase the range of the rockets from six to nine kilometers, and subsequently to 15 kilometers.

In 2007, Abu Sisi assisted Hamas in increasing range of rockets to 22 kilometers. He was then asked by Hamas to increase the range to between 37 and 45 kilometers, and participated in several experiments during which rockets were tested and fired into the Mediterranean.

In the end his attempts did not succeed.

One of the tank missiles that Abu Sisi helped develop is "Yassin," which has the ability to penetrate between 16 and 26 centimeters of reinforced steal. He attempted to increase the penetration capabilities to 37 centimeters.

Abu Sisi also developed an anti-tank mortar shell called "Abu Rassin" with a special range of 100 meters and can penetrate 87 centimeters of steel. He later made efforts to increase penetration to 100 cm, and worked on another anti-tank missile called "Al Batar," which has a 100-meter range.
The earlier reports that Abu Sisi was abducted because he knew the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit made no sense to me because by the time his disappearance was known, Shalit would have been moved to another location. This detailed indictment, where Abu Sisi is apparently Hamas' main rocket engineer, makes much more sense.

Hamas is denying any connection to him:
Hamas on Monday denied that Dirar Abu Sisi is connected to the organization following his indictment in Beersheba District Court in which he was accused of being the group's leading missile developer, Israel Radio reported.

Abu Sisi's wife Veronika also denied the charges against him, maintaining that the Palestinian engineer reportedly abducted in Ukraine by Israel was innocent.