Palestinian Authority security officers arrested (Arabic link) Bara Ayyash, the son of the deceased Hamas terrorist Yahya Ayyash, on Sunday evening.
Bara’s mother claimed (Arabic link) her son has been arrested several times on suspicion of incitement against the Palestinian Authority on Facebook.
Bara’s arrest took place a day before the 19th anniversary of his father’s assassination. Yahya Ayyash was one of the founders of Hamas’ paramilitary group, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and was nicknamed “The Engineer” for his ability to produce improvised explosive devices.
Ayyash was assassinated on January 5, 1996 when a booby-trapped cell phone he had been covertly given detonated when he answered it.
Hamas condemned the arrest of Bara Ayyash, with a senior figure in the movement, Salah al-Bardawil, saying it indicates that the Palestinian Authority is not pursuing Palestinian national interests. Bardawil said that Yahya Ayyash was and will remain one of the symbols of the Palestinian nation.
Palestinian users on Twitter reminisced over attacks planned by Ayyash. “He’s a hero, a role model for me and many others,” wrote one fan.
Before his assassination, Yahya Ayyash was the most wanted terrorist in the Palestinian territories for his role in the murder of dozens of Israelis. Ynet explains:
In 1992, while studying electrical engineering at the University of Birzeit, he joined Hamas’ military wing, the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades. That same year he prepared a car bomb for the first time. It was meant to explode in the Ramat Gan area but was defused by sappers. He was active in the West Bank and planned car bombings, smuggled explosive devices into Israel and trained suicide bombers. For four years he would wear a skullcap, dress as a woman and drive cars with stickers supporting Israel’s rule in the Golan Heights in order to avoid the Israeli security forces. In January 1995, several months after a deadly terror attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street, he escaped to the Gaza Strip for fear of being killed. A year later, he was assassinated as his bomb-laden cell phone exploded.
[Photo: Zoriah / Flickr]