Two months ago he was appointed as the general inspector of the Palestinian Interior and National Security Ministry, a position similar to the ministry's director-general.
Abu Samhadana's organization took part in the last intifada and in several large terror attacks against the Israel Defense Forces and settlers in the Gaza Strip. In one terror attack, the organization's terrorists were responsible for killing IDF soldiers in a Merkava tank, and in another attack they were involved in the killing of soldiers traveling in an armored personnel carrier.
The Popular Resistance Committees were also responsible for the explosion of smuggling tunnels.
Israeli and American officials also believe that Abu Samhadana's organization was responsible for the murder of the American security officials who were killed near the Erez crossing after an explosion occurred next to the convoy.
Abu Samhadana's body (Photo: Reuters)
Abu Samhadana, a father of five, belonged to the biggest clan in the southern Gaza Strip and lived in Rafah. He was wanted since the beginning of the 1980s, mostly on counts of smuggling from Egypt, and was forced to escape from Gaza. He spent time in Damascus and Morocco and studied in an officers' school in Germany and Algeria. In 1994, after the Oslo Accords were signed, he returned to the Gaza Strip.
In September 2000, at the start of the "al-Aqsa intifida," he formed the Popular Resistance Committees, as a violent alternative to the Fatah movement. Other sources tied to the global Jihad, Hizbullah and Iran joined his organization.
The organization supported Hamas in the Palestinian Authority election, a move that only enhanced Israel's perception of close ties between the two organizations.
Defense establishment officials have mentioned that Abu Samhadana was not seen lately at his official post at the PA ministry, but the Palestinians never confirmed his resignation, and his official involvement in the PA was not totally clear.
Abu Samhadana's blood trail
Abu Samhadana executed an attack against a bus carrying children near Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip, in which two children were murdered. He was also an accomplice to the terror attack against the Hatuel family in May 2004, in which Tali Hatuel, a pregnant woman, and her four daughters were murdered.
In 2003, he instigated a terror attack against the IDF, where powerful explosions aimed at the IDF tanks killed seven soldiers. In September 2004, he also carried out an attack by infiltrating an IDF post in the Gaza settlement of Morag, killing three soldiers.
The Popular Resistance Committees were also behind the terror attack against an American convoy traveling in Gaza in October 2003, by placing a powerful roadside bomb that killed three American security personnel, an attack that angered American officials.
Abu Samhadana escaped an assassination attempt in December 2004. Former Shin Bet Chief and current Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter recently called to "lay our hands on him."
"Jamal Abu Samhadana is a criminal and a hired killer by the Hamas who deserves to be jailed by Israel at the first chance it gets," Dichter said two months ago.
Dichter has known Samhadana since the days he worked as the Shin Bet coordinator in the Gaza Strip, and later as head of the southern district and as the Shin Bet chief. In an interview, he outlined the path of "the little criminal" from a smuggler at the Egyptian border to the rank of a terror attack contractor.
'Jews our only enemy'
"We have only one enemy, the Jews. I will continue to carry my gun with me and push the trigger any time I need to defend my people," Abu Samhadana told the British Sunday Times.
"Resistance must continue. The Palestinian organizations that are active today will become the future Palestinian army," he added.
Abu Samhadana said that he travels alone, during the night, in an old, inconspicuous car. He also said he has never spent two nights in the same place and rarely prayed in the same mosque.
Aside from Abu Samhadana's threatening Israel he also talked during the interview about his involvement in internal Palestinian issues, in an attempt to curb the internal and international criticism about his new post at the PA, saying he would fight corruption and thefts.
Ali waked contributed to the report