Da Ha'aretz del 14/11/2005
Originale su http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/645188.html

Hamas vows to avenge death of West Bank warlord

di Nir Hasson

Hamas militants vowed revenge on Monday after Israel Defense Forces troops shot dead the group's top commander in the northern West Bank.

Amjad Hanawi, 34, was killed in a pre-dawn arrest raid at his home in Nablus.

In Gaza, meanwhile, a gunman was killed and two wounded near the border fence with Israel, where they had apparently intnded an attack with rocket-propelled grenades.

Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, said in a statement faxed to the Associated Press that "the painful retaliation of Al Qassam is coming."

"We say to the Zionists that you are going to pay the price," the statement said.

"You will regret each drop of blood you shed."

An IDF force of paratroops, police anti-terror teams, and members of the elite Duvdevan and Haruv units carried out the raid, aimed at locating and arresting militants in the area.

More than a dozen explosions and several exchanges of fire were heard as soldiers in 15 jeeps raided an eastern part of Nablus and arrested eight suspected Hamas members and three more in other areas of the West Bank.

Witnesses said Hanawi had been shot while trying to flee the troops, and had sustained a head wound at close range. An AK-47 and a pistol were found on his body.

Hanawi is believed to have mastermided several suicide bombings in Israel in the 1990s.

Neighbors said the soldiers who raided the area first ordered Hanawi's family out of the house. While most members came out of the house, Hanawi refused the order and tried to escape. He was shot as he tried to climb a fence.

Hamas members then drove through the streets of Nablus, announcing Hanawi's death over loudspeakers. A funeral was planned later on Monday morning.

The army declined direct comment. But military officials confirmed there had been an arrest raid in Nablus overnight, and that one person opened fire on troops and tried to escape before being shot.

Israel has conducted raids against hideouts of commanders of armed groups on nearly a nightly basis since a suicide bombing late last month killed six Israelis in an open-air market in the town of Hadera.

A number of commanders have been killed, prompting vows of vengeance from the targeted groups, in particular the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Palestinians have strongly criticized the IDF raids and assassination operations, saying that they have foiled PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to seek promises of calm from the armed organizations.


Also in the pre-dawn hours, IDF Givati infantry troops killed a Palestinian gunman and wounded two others within the Gaza Strip about 100 meters from the security fence that separates the Strip from the western Negev near the Karni crossing.

Palestinian police who arrived at the area found the three lying at the site, and, at their side, AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and two RPG launchers.

On Sunday night, the IDF stepped up its retaliatory measures against Qassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, firing several salvos of artillery shells on rocket launching zones in the Strip.

Earlier on Friday, a Qassam rocket landed near the security fence along the northern Gaza border, causing no casualties or damage. The IDF reported its artillery units fired ten salvos of shells into the suspected launching zones during Sunday evening.

Sources in the IDF said the fire was decided on "because the Palestinians must understand that we will not tolerate rocket fire."

"Our response will be exaggerated and disproportionate to the [Palestinian] fire," a senior source in the IDF recently said. The IDF's response would strengthen of the rocket fire continued, the source said.

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