Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:40PM
Palestinian fighters from the Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Palestine's Hamas resistance movement, carry mock-rockets as they march during a rally to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the movement’s creation in the central Gaza Strip on December 12, 2014. (AFP photo)
Palestinian fighters from the Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Palestine's Hamas resistance movement, carry mock-rockets as they march during a rally to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the movement’s creation in the central Gaza Strip on December 12, 2014. (AFP photo)

The Israeli regime has sentenced a Palestinian engineer to a 21-year prison term on the allegation that he had assisted the Gaza-based resistance movement Hamas to boost the range of its rockets.

An Israeli court in the city of Beersheba convicted Dirar Abu Sisi on Tuesday of a number of alleged "crimes" against Israel, said a regime official as cited in an AFP report.

Specifically, the Palestinian engineer was accused by Israeli authorities of helping to extend the range of the home-made Qassam rockets that the armed wing of Hamas has commonly used over the years as its only means of retaliation against the Tel Aviv regime when the besieged Gaza Strip is subjected to massive Israeli military aggression.

The allegations against Abu Sisi comes as top Israeli officials have in the past accused Iran of helping the Palestinian resistance movement to boost the range and accuracy of its rockets.  

The Qassam rockets are reportedly manufactured in underground workshops across the densely-populated Palestinian enclave and are believed to have a range of 10 to 20 kilometers.

The conviction of Abu Sisi came nearly four-and-a-half months after he went missing while on a visit in Ukraine in February 2011, and the Israeli regime announced a month later that he was in their custody and would face a trial.

The Hamas use of the Qassam rockets have proved crucial in defending the impoverished Gaza against the repeated Israeli aerial and artillery bombardment of the enclave by forcing the Israeli regime to seek ceasefire agreements to halt the retaliatory rocket launches against Israeli targets.