Nablus gunmen 224.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
IDF operations in the West Bank heated up Wednesday after troops poured back into Nablus in search of terrorists and an IDF soldier from the Haruv Battalion was moderately wounded when a bomb was thrown at his unit. He was evacuated to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva.
For the second time this week, the IDF clamped down on Nablus, closing roads and confining tens of thousands of people to their homes as troops searched house-to-house. Soldiers arrested five terrorist suspects and uncovered three more explosives labs.
IDF's 'contractors' pay a visit to Jenin
The IDF launched Operation Hot Winter over the weekend, and after withdrawing from the city on Monday night, returned at dawn on Wednesday with a long convoy of armored jeeps backed by armored bulldozers. The army took over a radio station in the city and broadcast calls for wanted men to surrender.
Also on Wednesday, the Border Police's undercover unit - Yamas - shot dead Islamic Jihad's leader in Jenin, Ashraf Sa'adi, who intelligence officials said was behind the dispatching of a would-be suicide bomber who was caught in Bat Yam on February 20.
Two other wanted Islamic Jihad operatives, Muhammad Abu Nasa and Daoud Jabli, were killed in the gunfight. A border policeman was lightly wounded by a bullet in the shoulder.
"Sa'adi was a mega terrorist," said one of the commanders who participated in the operation. "He needed to be taken down."
The border policemen - who operate disguised as Palestinians - entered Jenin early Wednesday morning and, based on intelligence provided by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), set a roadblock ambush for Sa'adi and his men. The Islamic Jihad leader spotted the troops and tried to flee while opening fire. The policemen then killed Sa'adi and his two sidekicks.
A spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Abu Ahmad, said, "This new crime will not pass without severe punishment. Their blood will be the fuel for our holy battle. And our reaction is coming soon."
Minutes after Sa'adi was killed, Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Gaza Strip began firing Kassam rockets at the western Negev. Five rockets were fired, but no damage or injuries were reported.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accused Israel of trying to undermine efforts to form a Hamas-Fatah unity government.
"It's clear that this Israeli escalation... is tied directly to Israel's rejection of the Mecca agreement, which strengthened national unity," Haniyeh said.
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