Hamas man behind deadly attacks nabbed
Security forces arrest Maher Udda, a Hamas official in Ramallah in charge of cell that carried out terror attacks at Zerifin junction hitchhikers' station, Café Hillel in Jerusalem. In total, military wing under Udda's command responsible for death of 70 Israelis during second intifada
A joint force of IDF, Shin Beit and police officers arrested Saturday night Maher Udda, a Hamas operative who headed a West Bank cell that was responsible for a number of deadly terror attacks including the Café Hillel bombing in Jerusalem and the suicide attack at the Zerifin junction hitchhikers' station in 2003.
Udda has been wanted by Israel since the 1990s, and is considered one of the commanders of Hamas' military wing in Ramallah – an organization that killed 70 Israelis during the second intifada.
The 47-year-old father of four, who was born in Ein-Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah, is one of the founders of the Hamas movement in the West Bank city. He began operating in the early 1990s, when he formed the Hamas cell in his village, which was responsible for kidnapping and interrogating Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, and seeking weapons to use in terror attacks.
In 1998, he was questioned by the Palestinians security forces and spent several months in a Palestinian prison. After his release he became one of the organization's most wanted men.
During the al-Aqsa Intifada, intelligence was obtained on Udda revealing that he commanded and funded the Hamas cell in the West Bank village of Beit Liqya, which was responsible for the death of 10 Israelis. The cell was behind the bombing at the old bus station in Tel Aviv.
His arrest was made possible following precise intelligence obtained by the Shin Beit, and constitutes the final stage in efforts against the Hamas cell that operated in Ramallah during the second intifada and carried out several attacks leaving dozens of Israelis dead.
Military sources said that Udda was caught by surprise, and did not resist the arrest. The IDF considers Udda's arrest a final note, as he is the last in a line of Hamas officials operating in the area to be arrested in recent years.
The IDF emphasized that Udda's arrest illustrates the freedom the military enjoys in the West Bank and the precise intelligence hold it has which enables such arrests. "Anti-terror activity is constantly ongoing. We take action against anyone involved in terror now and against elements that were involved in terror in the past and have yet to be brought to justice. This is the approach that guides us, and will continue to guide us," an IDF source said.