The Beersheba District Court handed down two life-sentences and an additional eight-year sentence on Sunday to Gaza Strip resident Sharif Ziyada, who was convicted of attempting to bring the Qassam rocket manufacturing industry to the West Bank.
Ziyada, who was arrested while trying to infiltrate the Egyptian border into Israel in October 2005, was convicted of heading an initiative to begin manufacturing rockets in the West Bank on behalf of the Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. Two additional operatives – Kazem Dib and Kamal Aisa – were arrested along with Ziyada, who is considered the second-highest ranking member of the PRC.
Prior to Israel's disengagement from Gaza but primarily after it, Palestinian groups have been trying to transfer the technology and expertise required to launch rocket attacks to the West Bank.
A spokesman for the PRC, Abu Abir, said in a number of conversations with Ynet that the organization views the transfer of manufacturing capabilities to the West Bank as a top priority.
Following Sunday's ruling, Abu Abir said the PRC would dedicate every effort to securing Ziyada's release and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.