Yahya Abd-al-Latif Ayyash (Arabic: يحيى عياش) (22 February 1966 – 5 January 1996) was the chief bombmaker of Hamas and the leader of the West Bank battalion of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. In that capacity, he earned the nickname the Engineer (Arabic: المهندس, transliterated al-Muhandis). He was assassinated by Shin Bet on 5 January 1996.
He is a celebrated hero to Palestinians who have named streets and other locales in his honor.
The birth of Light
In times of complete darkness, selfishness, and deafness there is always a spark of hope, there is always a light coming from no-where, there are very few people who would sacrifice whatever they possess for the sake of others, for the sake of Allah and His religion. Ayyash was one of those committed men, who gave his entire life to Palestine in order for her to regain the freedom and dignity that were stolen the at the beginning of the 20th century by the Zionist infidels.
The story began there—In Rafa the birthplace of Resistance and Revolution. Yahya Ayyash was born to an ordinary family on March 3rd, 1966. On that day trees, rocks in the streets, birds, and everything seemed happy to the arrival of the Hero. However, the strangest thing in Ayyash was his name. “Yahyya” which means “to live” and “Ayyash” which also means “a person who lives a long life”. And truly he did live in the hearts of noble people for a long time and he will do so, he lived and will remain alive in the hearts and minds of all people.
The genius student
Ayyash completed his secondary school education in Rafat with excellent grades that qualified him to study engineering at Beir Zeit University. Ayyash received a Bachelor’s degree of “Electrical Engineering” in 1988. Ayyash wanted to travel abroad to pursuit his higher education, but the Zionists prevented him from going out. He became active in the ranks of Ezz Eddeen Al Qassam Brigades in the beginning of 1992, where he specialized in making explosives from raw materials available in the Palestinian territories.
He is credited with introducing the technique of Martyrdom Operations in the Palestinian War against Israeli-Zionist terrorism.
An ordinary man
Those who had the honor to meet and to talk with Ayyash said he was an ordinary man who loved his family, his neighbors, and his homeland.
Everyone who knew Ayyash loved him because Ayyash was so modest and helpful to whoever wanted help. A look at Yahya’s eyes tell you that he was humble and modest. They , in fact, hide, beneath them a deep man with a profound thinking.
The Engineer … the father of Martyrdom Operations
It was due to Yahya Ayyash that the heroics martyrdom attacks were used against the Israeli aggression on armless civilian Palestinians. When the Zionist murderer Baruch Goldstein killed more than thirty Palestinians while they were praying in Al-Ibrahimy Mosque in Khalil town, Hamas vowed that the Jews will pay the price of that massacre.
A few weeks after the brutal massacre against armless Palestinian worshippers, a number of heroic attack took place against the usurpers. And soon after that the Zionist government traced those attack back to Ayyash who became the number one wanted man for the Israeli gangs. Ayyash was chased for about three years in which he moved to many places before he made to Gaza where he later was assassinated.
In that capacity, he earned the nickname “the Engineer”, (Al-Muhandes in Arabic). It is important to mention that it is not the Palestinian or Hamas who called him “The Engineer”, but it was the enemy.
Ayyash who knew very much that he was being chased wherever he went did his best to train as many engineers as he could. And he did manage to train tens of Palestinians and he taught them how to make everything out of very simple materials.
On Friday January the fifth, pigeons were hovering over Beit Lahya, the waves of the sea were very high and very angry, the wind was silent, people we rushing here and there, they all knew that something terrible might happen.
When suddenly people were shouting “Ayyash was killed! Ayyash was Assassinated!” everybody was stuck, people were crying in the streets, in the cars, in their balconies, in their rooms. Little kids left schools to find a place to cry for the Hero passed away.
Ayyash was killed. Everything was sad and angry, the trees looked furious, the birds seemed angry, the wind stopped blowing, there were no more waves in the sea. Only the infields, the Zionists, were happy celebrating the death of Yahya Ayyash.
The assassination of Yahya Ayyash was with a booby-trapped cellular phone. The Zionists thought there would be no more martyrdom operation , they thought that there would be no more resistance. They were foolish. For it was a fake short-lived victory for them.
A victim of the Zionist violations
Yahya was not searching to kill as huge human as the terrorist Sharon did in Sabra and Shatila. He had the ability to put 100 Kg of TNT in a cinema or any place which is very crowded.
Also, he had the ability to put a tractor of TNT under a tower to be completely damaged. However, he did not do that because of his Islamic moral that we did not kill a child or woman in war.
Whatever the enemy did, we can do as he did. Means if the enemy killed children, we would kill children. Also, if they devastated houses, we should launch a homemade rocket to devastate a house. Yahya, the first engineer was the first victim but the Zionist occupation paid the bell.
Exactly fifty days elapsed when a series of martyrdom operations shook the entity of the occupation. They began with dual attack that left more than twenty Zionist solders dead. Hamas Military wing – Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades (Students of the Engineer) took responsibility of the attacks.
They said that was a mere beginning of their retaliation to the assassination of their brave hero Ayyash.
A Jewish journalist commented saying “Hamas extracted a heavy price from the Jewish state for killing the man known as “The Engineer.” Four revenge attacks in seven days killed dozens and changed the course of Israel’s political history.”