Last update - 10:28 21/02/2007
Israeli troops kill Jenin-area Islamic Jihad chief
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
Israeli undercover troops killed an Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank town of Jenin on Wednesday, one day after a bombing attempt he allegedly ordered was thwarted in Tel Aviv.
The slain man was identified as Mahmoud Abu Ubayed, commander of the Jihad in areas near Jenin. Witnesses said Abu Ubayed was driving his car near the Yihya Ayyash Square in Jenin when undercover troops surprised him and sprayed the vehicle with bullets. The square was named for a Hamas bombing mastermind killed in an Israeli-ordered attack in 1996.
The planned large-scale suicide bomb attack in the Tel Aviv area was prevented Tuesday when police and security forces arrested an Islamic Jihad militant and his partners at an apartment in Bat Yam.
The army had no immediate comment.
Army Radio said Abu Ubayed dispatched the suspected bomber, a resident of a village near Jenin. Islamic Jihad last carried out a suicide attack in Israel on January 29, when three people were killed in the Red Sea resort of Eilat.
The suspect told police where the explosive device he was supposed to use in the attack was located and the bomb squad found the large device in a garbage can in the center of Rishon Letzion.
The would-be bomber, 24, was identified in a statement the organization released to the Palestinian press.
On Tuesday morning, the militant left his village of Jiblun, which borders the Green Line east of Jenin, carrying a bag with a bomb. Close to midday the Shin Bet received a warning that a terrorist attack was in progress. This information triggered an extensive manhunt.
In the afternoon, police declared a state of high alert in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area and set up several roadblocks, especially in the city's southern quarters. Police patrolled the streets, carried out spot-checks on vehicles and searched the yards of buildings. Helicopters carried out searches from the air.
The police activity resulted in heavy traffic delays in the broader Dan region.
The searches succeeded in locating the terrorist in a Bat Yam apartment housing Palestinians without legal permits to be in Israel.
The would-be suicide bomber was questioned by the security forces and a short while later, he led investigators to the center of Rishon Letzion where he had dropped off the bomb in a trash can.
Police demolitions experts carried out a controlled explosion of the device after evacuating dozens of nearby buildings.
The militant said he had been ordered to carry out the suicide bombing in southern Tel Aviv. It
appears the target was supposed to have been the area of the central bus station.
It is still unclear why the militant decided to hide the explosive device he was carrying in Rishon Letzion and then proceed to Bat Yam, and not go directly to the target area.
The three Palestinians living in the Bat Yam apartment were also arrested and the Shin Bet is trying to figure out whether they were in any way involved in the planning of the attack, or whether they thought the would-be bomber was a laborer like them.
Following the arrest the state of alert in the Tel Aviv area was lowered and most of the road blocks were lifted.
A senior security source told Haaretz that the Shin Bet and police activity are worthy of praise and that their resourcefulness has led to the prevention of a major terrorist attack.
"There is no doubt that a major disaster was prevented," Major General David Tzur, commander of the Tel Aviv police district said Tuesday.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility Tuesday night for the attempted attack in Tel Aviv. The organization has refused to participate in the hudna - the temporary cease-fire to which Hamas has signed up - and has continued its efforts to carry out suicide bomb attacks.
Jihad also announced recently that it would not participate in the Palestinian government of national unity, which Hamas and Fatah agreed upon in a Saudi-brokered accord earlier this month.
The United States has placed a bounty on the head of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shalah, based in Damascus, and the organization has warned that if its leader is harmed it will also target American interests.
Islamic Jihad is considered to be an organization that is supported and funded by Iran. The militant group participated in a suicide bombing in Eilat, in late January, that claimed the lives of three Israeli civilians.
The Islamic Jihad network in the northern West Bank is considered to be the most lethal in the territories. In 2006 its members were responsible for two suicide bombings in Tel Aviv, killing 11 Israeli civilians.
Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin said recently that during the past year more than 1,000 Islamic Jihad activists were arrested in the West Bank, of which the security services described 96 as "potential suicide bombers."
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Israeli forces kill Islamic Jihad man, group says
21 Feb 2007 07:38:30 GMT21 Feb 2007 07:38:30 GMT
JENIN, West Bank, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Israeli undercover forces killed an Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank on Wednesday, the militant group said, a day after Israeli police announced they foiled a planned suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.
Islamic Jihad identified him as Mahmoud Abu al-Jahim, its commander in the northern West Bank.
An Israeli army spokeswoman in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment on the shooting in the city of Jenin, a Palestinian militant stronghold in the occupied West Bank..
Jahim was killed a day after Israeli police arrested a suspected Palestinian bomber and several accomplices hiding in an apartment near Tel Aviv. A police spokesman said they had planned to stage an attack in the city hours later.
Israel Army Radio said Jahim had dispatched the suspected bomber, a resident of a village near Jenin. Islamic Jihad last carried out a suicide attack in Israel on January 29, when three people were killed in the Red Sea resort of Eilat.
Witnesses said Jahim was driving his car when undercover troops surprised him and sprayed the vehicle with bullets.
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