TEL AVIV (Feb. 28)
A massive man hunt is underway in the Gaza Strip for Mouhammad El Assad, the “Che Guevara” of Gaza, who is believed responsible for at least 20 political assassinations. The 32-year-old terrorist assumed command of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza several months ago after its former leader was killed. But police say he is acting as a lone wolf, terrorizing the local population and particularly Gazans holding public office.
Assad is believed responsible for the murder Monday of a Catholic priest. Father Hanna El-Nimri, and for the kidnap-slaying of Deib Ismaeil El Arbitti on Feb. 11. Both victims were members of the Shatti refugee camp neighborhood council in Gaza.
According to police, Assad disappeared from the Shatti camp after the 1967 Six-Day War. He is known to have stayed in Jordan and Syria and to have gone to China where he trained in guerrilla warfare. Police said that the wanted terrorist was a dedicated Maoist when he returned to the Gaza Strip in 1968. He was dubbed “Che Guevara” because he always carried the writings of the late Cuban revolutionary as well as Chairman Mao’s Red Book. Police said that Assad has managed to elude many traps so far.
Meanwhile, six more Druze were arrested in the Golan Heights last night, bringing to 53 the number of detainees being held in connection with a Syrian-backed Druze spy ring said to have operated from Majdal Shams village on the Golan Heights.