idf in jenin 298 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Elite border policemen dressed as Palestinian Arabs infiltrated a Jenin refugee camp Thursday morning and arrested Khaled el-Haj, a senior Hamas commander in the northern West Bank, along with one of his lieutenants. El-Haj was released from an Israeli prison only two moths prior to Thursday's arrest operation, military sources said.
Palestinian witnesses said the daytime arrest raid was executed quickly, and no shots were fired during the course of the operation. According to the witnesses, the border policeman arrived in a civilian vehicle to a building in the refugee camp just after noon.
The troops surrounded the home and swiftly arrested el-Haj and his lieutenant, before placing the operatives in their vehicle and driving away. Additional IDF jeeps arrived to secure the extrication from the refugee camp, and the forces left the area before locals became aware that a raid had taken place.
A handgun was found in the building where the two men were located, the army said. Both men were handed over to the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Services) for questioning.
El-Haj quickly took the helm of the movement's activities after his release from Israeli custody in November, the army said. He was reportedly a coordinator between Hamas and other terrorist organizations in and around Jenin, and recently he worked to calm escalating tensions in the area between Hamas and Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.