Nicknamed “The Engineer”, Yahya Abd-al-Latif Ayyash was the chief bomb maker for Hamas and the most wanted man in Gaza for three years untill his death in 1996. Born in Rafah in 1966, Ayyash is credited with advancing the technique of suicide bombing of the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades.
As part of a strategic alliance between Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ayyash built the bombs used by Islamic Jihad at the Beit Lid massacre. Israel’s restriction of explosives in Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and the Jordan Valley, forced Ayyash to use a deadly combination of commonly available household products: acetone and detergent. The combination of these products form acetone peroxide, an explosive known as “Mother of Satan” for its instability.
Ayyash personally built the bombs used in a number of Hamas suicide attacks which resulted in 439 casualties:
|Suicide Attack||Deaths||Injured||Overall Casualties|
|The Mehola Junction bombing||1||9||10|
|Afula Bus massacre||8||5||13|
|Hadera central station massacre||5||30||35|
|Tel Aviv bus 5 massacre||22||50||72|
|Egged bus 36 bombing||8||70||78|
|Ramat Gan bus 20 bombing||6||30||36|
|Jerusalem bus 26 bombing||5||100||105|
|Beit Lid massacre||21||69||90|
In 1996, Ayyash’s terror plans were cut short by a bomb-laden cell phone that he received from a friend, who had cooperated with the Shin Bet. He was instantly killed upon answering the call.