In ‘The Engineer,’ Israeli forces undertake a risky but important mission of finding Yahya Ayyash and bringing him to justice for the many bomb blasts he’s responsible for. Like any difficult and seemingly impossible mission, it took a lot of time for the authorities to get to Ayyash, but once they found a hole in his armor, things became much easier. The man who played a significant role in easing it all was Kamal Hamad. He plays an integral role in the movie, but what happened to him in real life?
Kamal Hamad Helped Shin Bet Agents in Taking Down Ayyash
Before he collaborated with Shin Bet agents, Kamal Hamad was just another businessman. He was a contractor, and his work put him mostly in the Gaza Strip and occasionally brought him into Israel. He’d previously had minor dealings with Shin Bet, but it was nothing that would raise anyone’s eyebrows. He didn’t realize that this seemingly minor connection would eventually become his undoing.
Shin Bet had been tracking Ayyash for a long time, and it was when they discovered that Osama Hamad had been hiding him that they realized the opportunity they had. Osama was Kamal’s nephew, and that allowed Shin Bet to use Kamal to get to Ayyash. They approached him in October 1995, where they first explained how working for them would allow him to keep his business as usual in Israel without any problems. In return for his cooperation, he tried to strike a deal by getting money and Israeli ID cards for himself and his family. However, Shin Bet agents told him to think about the possibility that everyone would know about his connection to them and how Hamas would react to it. The threat worked, and Kamal decided to help them.
They told Kamal to give a phone to Osama, which he would then give to Ayyash to talk to his father. They said that the phone was supposed to help them listen in on Ayyash’s calls, but Kamal didn’t know that they’d also rigged it with a bomb that was meant to kill Ayyash. With Kamal’s help, Shin Bet also disconnected the phone line that would force the terrorist to use the phone that they’d rigged. The hitch came when the bomb didn’t detonate when they wanted it to. They made Kamal get the phone back so that they could fix the problem. Kamal did as asked, raising Osama’s suspicions.
Eventually, they gave back the phone, and this time, they made sure the bomb would go off. On January 5, 1996, Ayyash used the phone to talk to his father, which is when the bomb was detonated, and he died; the plan was a success. Soon after, the Palestinian police released an arrest warrant for Osama and Kamal, though the latter disappeared before they could get to him.
Where is Kamal Hamad Today?
Once Kamal discovered what Shin Bet had used him for, he knew how dangerous it would be for him to stay in Palestine, considering how much Ayyash was loved by the public. Reportedly, he disappeared, leaving behind his house, property, and even his Mercedes. It was speculated that he was given a fake passport and a visa to go to the US with $1 million in return for his services. But its veracity cannot be confirmed.
Reportedly, an Israeli operative, who’d previously dealt with him on several occasions, claimed that he’d seen Kamal at a mall in Ramat-Gan in Israel. According to the man, Kamal was dejected for having lost everything and angry with Shin Bet for tricking him because they never told him about the bomb. Apparently, Kamal also said that Shin Bet never kept their end of the deal and that he didn’t get anything out of all that he did for them.
Some of his family members claimed that he was never involved in the assassination because he’d left for the US days before Ayyash was killed. However, it didn’t change anyone’s opinion about him. There was a warrant out for his arrest, and much like the authorities, the public was also against him. He was held responsible for Ayyash’s death and called a traitor for it. He could never come back home and had to spend the rest of his life in obscurity.