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Planner of murder of 20 honored as “a magnificent leader” on PA TV

Brother of terrorist Thabet Merdawi: “We are talking today about brother leader Thabet Azmi Merdawi (i.e., terrorist planned murder of 20), a man who there are few like him in terms of national activity and resistance activity…A brother whose stature is like the magnitude of the homeland, a thinker, not a regular person, a magnificent leader who oversaw the Jenin battle with distinction in 2002.One of the goals of the [Israeli] invasion in Operation Defensive Shield was to capture Thabet Merdawi. Today Thabet Merdawi is a thinker inside prison. He submitted a master’s thesis, and Allah willing he will write a doctoral thesis.”

 [Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Aug. 3, 2023]


Thabet Merdawi - Palestinian terrorist and leading member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Jenin who planned at least 9 terror attacks that murdered 20 Israelis and wounded 150 in 2001-2002: Binyamina train station suicide bombing (July 16, 2001, 2 murdered), Kibbutz Shluhot suicide bombing (Oct. 7, 2001, 1 murdered), Hadera Market shooting attack (Oct. 28, 2001, 4 murdered), Wadi Ara suicide bombings (Nov. 29, 2001, 3 murdered, and March 20, 2002, 5 murdered), Afula central bus station suicide bombing (March 5, 2002, 1 murdered). Merdawi turned himself in to Israeli security forces on April 11, 2002, during the Israeli military operation Defensive Shield. Merdawi is serving 21 life sentences and an additional 40 years.


Jenin – refugee camp north of Nablus that was a major hotbed of terrorism in the PA terror campaign 2000-2005 (the second Intifada). To reduce the attacks, Israeli forces entered Jenin on April 3, 2002, to conduct searches as part of Operation Defensive Shield, which was carried out to destroy the terror infrastructure in the West Bank, and several days of intense fighting against Palestinian terrorists in booby-trapped houses ensued. While the PA claimed that the Israeli forces committed a “massacre” and killed hundreds of civilians, a UN report refuted these claims, confirming that 52 Palestinians were killed in the battle of which the majority were terrorists. 23 Israeli soldiers were also killed in the fighting.


Operation Defensive Shield – a large Israeli military operation in April 2002 in response to the many suicide bombings during the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005). Israel put Arafat under siege and invaded six of the largest West Bank cities in an attempt to destroy the terror infrastructure.