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REPORT: A glimpse at al-Jaabari, the man behind Israel's renewed onslaught on Gaza

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Ahmed al-Jaabari was born in 1960 and lived in the neighborhood of Shuja’iya in eastern Gaza. He was the Deputy Commander of Al-Qassam Brigades and its military commander on the ground.        Ahmad tops the Israeli ‘wanted list’ which considers him to be “the chief of staff of the Hamas movement” in reference to his high rank in the movement and his planning of a large number of operations against the Jewish state.      
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Al-Jaabari remained the third in the Qassam Brigades’ Military Council until Israel assassinated Sheikh Salah Chehadeh in 2002 while failing to kill Mohammad al-Dayf in 2003.    However, the latter’s severe injury handicapped him, making al-Jaabari the first man and real commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades.         Al-Jaabari had great capacities and managed to achieve many breakthroughs, setting a strong military system for the Brigades and overseeing many operations against Israel.         Al-Jaabari was the target of many Israeli assassination attempts, mainly the one he survived with minor injuries in 2004. His elder son Mohammad, his brother and three of his relatives were killed when Israeli jets pounded his house in the Shuja’iya neighborhood of Gaza.       Israel accused him of being behind the detention of Israeli Sergeant Gilad Shalit. Al-Jaabari was the one behind the deal to swap 1,000 Palestinian prisoners with Shalit, including the 450 prisoners Israel refused to release.         He trasnferred from Fatah to Hamas in the early eighties and spent 13 years in Israeli prisons on charges of involvement in Fatah military groups that plotted a commando operation in 1982.        Following his release in 1995, he focused on the management of an institution affiliated with Hamas and concerned with the affairs of prisoners and ex-prisoners. In 1997, he worked with the Islamic Salvation Party to face the Palestinian authority’s security prosecutions at the time.         In 1998, the Palestinian Preventive Security Service detained him for 2 years on charges of affiliation to the Al-Qassam Brigades. He was then released with the beginning of the uprising following Israel’s shelling of Gaza’s security apparatuses. For the full LBCI report, watch the video above
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