Jamal Abu Samhadana
Jamal Abu Samhadana (Arabic: جمال أبو سمهدانة, February 8, 1963 – June 8, 2006), from Rafah in the Gaza Strip, was the founder of the Popular Resistance Committees (which have been held responsible for firing missiles into Israel), a former Fatah and Tanzim member, and number two on Israel's list of wanted terrorists.
Abu Samhadana survived an Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip in December 2004.
On April 20, 2006, Abu Samhadana was appointed director general of the police forces in Gaza. On June 8, 2006, he was killed in a targeted killing, along with at least three other PRC members, by four missiles fired by Israeli Apache helicopters, guided by Israeli reconnaissance drones, at a PRC camp in Rafah.
Appointment as chief of the police forces
On 20 April 2006, Abu Samhadana was appointed director general of the police forces in the Interior Ministry by Said Seyam, Interior Minister of the Palestinian National Authority's new Hamas-led government.
Although Israel acknowledged that Hamas was largely sticking to a ceasefire, on June 8, 2006, Samhadana was killed in a resumption of targeted killings, along with at least three other PRC members, by four missiles fired by Israeli Apache helicopters, guided by Israeli reconnaissance drones, at a PRC camp in Rafah. Palestinian human rights sources called the killings extra-judicial executions and assassinations. They reported that Israeli media sources stated that Defense Minister Amir Peretz had personally approved the operation. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemned the assassinations, particularly the fact that they were adopted as official Israeli policy. It said that assassinations were war crimes according to international humanitarian law, mainly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bans all types of extrajudicial capital punishment.
Repercussions of the assassination
At his funeral Samhadana’s supporters called for revenge. Hours after his assassination rockets were fired at Sderot in Israel. The IDF retaliated by bombarding the launch sites on a Gaza beach. During the bombardment period, the civilian Ghalia family was all but wiped out in an explosion. Analysts trace the Samhadana assassination to the rocket fire (on Sderot), through a series of IDF shellings, rocket attacks and commando raids on Gaza that killed over three dozen people, mostly civilians, to the capture of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 25. Two days after Shalit's capture, the IDF launched Operation Summer Rains in which over 400 Palestinians (most of them militants) died and 650 were wounded.
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