During the funeral of Adnan al-Ghoul and his assistant Imad Abbas on October 22, 2004 (Reuters)

Adnan al-Ghoul, commander of the military industrialization unit in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Gaza in the period between 1994 and 2004, was called the “father of the Qassam missiles” and the “pioneer of military industrialization” due to his important role in developing a weapons arsenal. Palestinian resistance in the face of the Israeli occupation.

He spent most of his life persecuted by the security and military occupation forces, as well as by the Palestinian Authority, and despite the persecution and siege imposed on Gaza, he was able to bring about a transformation in the history of the Palestinian resistance through his fingerprints in the manufacture of bombs, rockets and missiles with local capabilities.

During his leadership of the Military Industrialization Unit, the Al-Qassam Brigades succeeded in producing 9 weapons, most notably the Qassam missile, the Al-Yassin missile, the Al-Banna and Al-Badr missiles, mortar shells, and other weapons.

He was martyred in 2004 at the age of 46 after the car he was traveling in was targeted by a missile. The Al-Qassam Brigades named the “Ghoul” sniper rifle, which it revealed during the war on Gaza in 2014, with a range of up to two kilometers.

Birth and upbringing

Yahya Mahmoud Jaber Al-Ghoul was born on July 24, 1958 in Al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City.

His father was detained in Abu Zaabal prison in Egypt when his mother, Sakina Umm Khader, placed him in a clinic affiliated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees (UNRWA).

His mother wanted to name him Faraj, and her hope was that God would relieve the anguish of his imprisoned father, or Yahya, after the Prophet of God, Yahya. However, the older sister Zainab insisted that she name him Adnan, and to please everyone, they decided to call him Adnan and name him Yahya on the birth certificate, and months after his birth, Faraj came. His father got out of prison.

His family was displaced from the occupied village of Harbia, one of the villages of the Majdal District, in 1948, and they lived for years of displacement and asylum.

The family initially settled in one of the Gaza Strip camps in the city of Rafah for two years, before difficult circumstances forced them to move between a number of cities and camps, such as the city of Deir al-Balah, the Bureij camp, and then the beach camp, until they settled in the Al-Mughraqa area, where the family owned a plot of land.

He grew up in a large, conservative family, consisting of 9 brothers, 6 boys, Khadr, Musa, Jaber, Issa, Adnan, and Omar, and 2 girls, Zainab and Maysar, while the ninth brother died shortly after his birth.

His father, Mahmoud al-Ghoul Abu Khader, had a great influence on him and his brothers, as he was one of the leaders of the mujahideen who confronted the attacks of the occupation forces in 1948 in the village of Harbia. After he and his family moved to Rafah, he became involved in confronting the international forces that were cooperating with the occupation forces on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egyptian lands. .

During this period, his father participated in military operations during which he and his companions seized weapons and money. The Egyptian authorities arrested him in an ambush and the court sentenced him to 18 years in prison, which after appeal turned into 18 months that he spent in Abu Zaabal prison.

Adnan married his cousin, Wafa Ibrahim Al-Ghoul, in 1981, and 9 children were born to them: Sarah, Bilal, Israa, Islam, Muhammad, Nour, Mahmoud, Duaa, and Hilal.

During the search for the remains of Adnan al-Ghoul and his companions in the wreckage of their car that was bombed on October 21, 2004 (Getty)

Study and scientific training

He received part of his primary education in one of the schools affiliated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees in Beach Camp, and completed his primary studies in the schools of Nuseirat Camp after his family moved to the town of “Al-Mughraqa” in the central Gaza Strip.

In 1973, he joined Khaled bin Al-Walid Secondary School in Nuseirat, then studied high school at Palestine School in Gaza, and was known for his excellence in scientific subjects, especially physics and chemistry.

After obtaining his high school diploma, and while he was preparing for the university stage, his father died on February 2, 1979, after suffering a stroke. Some time later, his family decided to support him in traveling to Spain to complete his university studies in chemistry, but he only stayed there for two months and returned to Gaza. From there he headed to Egypt. He joined Beirut Arab University in Alexandria to study in the Faculty of Commerce.

During his time in Egypt, he came into contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, became closely acquainted with its ideas and literature, and was influenced by its leaders. In the summer of 1981, he returned to the Gaza Strip to prepare for the exams. However, the tense situation in Egypt after the assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the arrest of many Islamists led him to decide not to travel. He went to work in agriculture to help his family in the difficult economic circumstances they were experiencing.

The jihadist experience

At an early age, he joined the Islamic Movement in Gaza, and was one of the first Islamists to engage in armed resistance against the occupation before the outbreak of the first Palestinian Intifada, and before the founding of the Hamas movement, as he formed a cell known as the Mujahideen Cell in 1984.

Relying on simple weapons made by Adnan al-Ghoul with local materials, this cell was able to assassinate a senior officer in the Shin Bet in Jabalia, and carried out other operations, the most notable of which was the checkpoint operation in which 4 of his comrades were martyred and another was arrested, and his name then became known to the Israeli security services, during this period. His ability to disguise himself was evident, as he sometimes wore a wig on his hair and sometimes disguised himself as an old man in order to move freely away from the eyes of the occupation and its agents.

As persecution intensified and the situation tightened around him, he was forced to leave the Gaza Strip and head to Syria via Egypt. In Syria, he spent 7 years, which was a stage of formation and acquisition of military field experience, where he obtained advanced courses in manufacturing explosives and missiles, assembling materials, and manufacturing detonators, devices, mines, and bombs.

He returned to the Gaza Strip in 1994 and upon his arrival began to resume his military activity within the ranks of the Al-Qassam Brigades. He was initially entrusted with the task of purchasing and storing weapons.

With his meeting with engineer Yahya Ayyash, the resistance launched a new phase. They worked on organizing secret courses for resistance members in the field of weapons manufacturing, then laying the first building blocks for the military manufacturing unit led by Al-Ghoul and Ayyash.

Adnan al-Ghoul is considered one of the first armed resistance fighters against the occupation before the first Palestinian Intifada and before the founding of Hamas (Getty)

He had a fundamental and major role in developing the weapons of the Qassam Brigades and bringing about a change in the confrontation with the occupation. A book issued by the Brigades’ Military Information Department entitled “Pioneer of Military Industrialization... The Jihadist Biography of Commander Adnan al-Ghoul” mentioned the importance of his role and the great attention he received from the Hamas leadership, as Sheikh Ahmed Yassin used to advise the Mujahideen, saying to them: Take care of Abu Bilal. He is a trust in your hands. He is a man not like other men. Dr. Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi praised him, saying: If this man had not entered Gaza, we would still have our hands cut off while working with matches.

Detention period

The Palestinian Authority arrested him in 1998 as part of an arrest campaign that targeted a number of resistance fighters after they carried out operations against the occupation. He and his companions were subjected to torture during the investigation and remained in prison inside a solitary cell for about 6 months until he managed to escape after an iron cut through the window of his cell, and after that he remained pursued by the authority. His family was also subjected to harassment and arrests in an attempt to pressure him to surrender himself.

In 1999, Adnan concluded an agreement with the leadership of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service, affiliated with the Authority, stipulating that he surrender himself on the condition that he be released from prison two months after his arrest. The Authority did not fulfill the agreement, so the detention period extended from two months to 13 months.

Military industrialization revolution

After the outbreak of the second Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, the military industrialization project of the Al-Qassam Brigades began to flourish, as workshops were established and the necessary machinery and equipment were brought in to begin producing weapons. The man of this stage was Adnan Al-Ghoul, who assumed the leadership of the Al-Qassam Military Industrialization Unit and the Deputy Chief of Staff.

Together with dozens of battalion engineers, he was able to develop the Qassam military industries to keep pace with the military arsenal of the occupation, and direct engagement weapons, anti-armor weapons, explosive devices, mines, shells and rockets appeared on the battlefield.

Under the supervision of Adnan al-Ghoul, the resistance was able to produce the first “Anerga” anti-armor missile in 1998, with an effectiveness reaching a distance of 150 metres. After successful experiments, this missile entered service as field weapons in 2001.

Thinking about introducing mortar shells into the battlefield began at the end of 1997, and after the outbreak of the second intifada, the round of mortar shell manufacturing ended, which brought about field changes in the confrontation with the occupation.

October 26, 2001 witnessed the birth of the first Qassam missile to be produced within the Qassam Manufacturing Unit. It was called the Qassam 1 missile and was 70 centimeters long with a range ranging between 2 and 3 kilometers. Shortly thereafter, the Qassam 2 missile was produced with a length of 180 centimeters and a range ranging between 9 and 12. Kilometers.

Commander Adnan's fingerprints were strongly present in the development of the work system, as he contributed to developing the firing mechanism that was carried out through the traditional electrical circuit, i.e. the wire and battery, and converting it to a timer working mechanism.

A Palestinian child holds a picture of Adnan Al-Ghoul (Getty)

In 2001, work began on a project to manufacture the Banna launcher, an anti-armor launcher carried on the shoulder, with a diameter of 80 mm. After experiments, it was included in field weapons for the first time in confronting the occupation during its invasion of the Al-Zaytoun area, east of Gaza City, in 2002.

Al-Ghoul tried to overcome the weaknesses of the Al-Banna launcher by manufacturing the Al-Badr launcher, by increasing the diameter of the launcher from 80 mm to 100 mm. This weapon entered the field in 2003, where its benefits appeared in repelling the Israeli invasions of the Gaza Strip.

The completion of the "Yassin Launcher" project represented a qualitative leap in the work of the Military Industrialization Unit, as it was launched for the first time on August 3, 2004. In 2006, the Yassin weapon was used in Operation Shattered Illusion in the southern Gaza Strip, which resulted in the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

After this important step, Adnan al-Ghoul's thinking began to move towards working on two new projects: anti-aircraft missiles and gliders. He used to tell his comrades that by implementing these two projects, he would have fulfilled his mission. He began developing plans, designs, and models to implement his ideas, but he was unable to complete them because of his martyrdom. .

Assassination attempts

Given his important role in developing the military industrialization system of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Adnan al-Ghoul posed a strategic danger to Israel and a real threat to it, so it made many plans to assassinate him, and he was its first target that it mobilized its agencies to pursue.

He was subjected to 9 assassination attempts, in which the occupation forces used aircraft and missiles, as well as agents, but all of them failed.

The first assassination attempt was in 1994, immediately after his return from Syria, when an agent put poison in his coffee after luring him to a restaurant, pretending that he wanted to sell him a Kalashnikov and a pistol.

Then he was subjected to an assassination attempt inside the Palestinian Authority prison when an officer asked him in a friendly manner to dismantle a bomb that turned out to be ready to explode, which led to him losing two fingers on his hand.

In August 2001, missiles fired by an Apache plane targeted a convoy of cars in one of which was Adnan al-Ghoul and Muhammad al-Deif, and in the other his son Bilal, who was then targeted with a direct missile and subsequently martyred at the age of 18.


On October 21, 2004, an Israeli aircraft targeted with a missile a car in which Adnan al-Ghoul was traveling with the martyr Imad Abbas, an explosives expert in the Qassam Brigades. This led to their death and the injury of a number of bystanders.

Hundreds of thousands of Gazans came out to bid him farewell and funeral, led by leaders from the Hamas movement and dozens of militants from the Al-Qassam Brigades.

The Al-Qassam Brigades named the “Ghoul” sniper rifle after him, which it revealed in August 2014 during the war on Gaza, and whose range reached two kilometers.

Source: Palestinian press