In Jenin, the West Bank town where the last two men were eventually captured and historically a hotbed of militancy, the escape only added to the myth of Zakaria Zubeidi, the most high-profile of the six.
Zubeidi, 45, became a militant after Israeli soldiers shot his mother and brother, eventually rising through the ranks of the al-Aqsa martyrs brigade
However, the timeline – suggesting Zubeidi only turned to terror to avenge his mother’s death – is wildly inaccurate. His mother was killed in 2002. Zubeidi’s terror activities, by his own account, began during the 1st Intifada. His first stint in an Israeli prison was when he was a teenager, after being convicted of throwing Molotov cocktails at soldiers. That was around 1990.
Zubeidi was further radicalised while in prison and, by 2001, during the 2nd Intifada, a year before his mother was killed, was making bombs to use in attacks on Israeli civilians, and became leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah. (According to Times of Israel, Zubeidi’s charge sheet, when arrested in 2019, includes two counts of intentionally causing death — the military legal system’s equivalent to murder — and multiple counts of attempting to intentionally cause death, membership in a terrorist group, weapons sales, firing guns at people and preparing explosives.)
The Financial Times claim is clearly inaccurate, and we’ve complained to editors.