hamas gunmen 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF denied involvement Saturday night in what Palestinians claimed was an Israeli capture of a senior Hamas operative involved in the kidnapping of IDF Cpl. Gilad Schalit.
If the Palestinian reports are true, Israeli forces penetrated deep into the heart of Rafah late Friday night to nab Mohawah al-Qadi, a senior member of the Hamas's armed wing and a commander in the Executive Force.
Although the IDF denied responsibility for the operation and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) refused to comment whatsoever on the operation, Hamas said it took place over two kilometers beyond the Gaza security fence and in an area known to be a hotbed of Hamas gunmen.
"A special Zionist force wearing Executive Force uniforms entered George Street in eastern Rafah in a civilian Subaru car and then headed towards the Sufa crossing" with Israel, Hamas's armed wing, the Izzadine al-Kassam Brigades, said in a statement.
Palestinian sources also said that al-Qadi was involved with the kidnapping of Schalit in June 2006.
Al-Qadi, apprehended together with his assistant Saqer Abd al-Al, was "responsible for the Executive Force public relations," the group said.
At first, Hamas officials thought the man was taken by Fatah loyalists because of clashes taking place between loyalists of the two groups in Gaza since Friday morning.
Hamas spokesmen said that only when the Subaru car carrying al-Qadi was seen leaving the Gaza Strip accompanied by helicopters did they consider that the operative had been grabbed by the Israelis.
According to one account, the car traveled to Dahaniyeh airport in Gaza and an IAF chopper took the man from there.
Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, IDF soldiers allegedly shot and killed a Palestinian teenager who approached the Karni Checkpoint in the northern Gaza Strip carrying a firearm.
According to Palestinian sources, the 19-year-old, Ramzi Hiles, had approached the border fence area while hunting fowl and was shot by an IDF sniper, bleeding to death from a gunshot wound to his thigh.
The IDF opened an investigation into the incident, but said that initial information indicated that the youth was part of a group of suspicious-looking Palestinians who approached the fence. Soldiers said that when they saw the group, they fired warning shots into the air, but did not target the youth.
Overnight Saturday, Palestinians threw two explosive devices at IDF forces operating south of Jenin in Kabatia and Mutalet a-Shahida, although neither device succeeded in damaging equipment or wounding soldiers.
No injuries or damage were reported after Palestinians also threw rocks and petrol bombs overnight Saturday at Israeli vehicles traveling northwest of Ramallah.
Also overnight Saturday, IDF forces operating in Nablus arrested a wanted Palestinian who was transferred for questioning to the Shin Bet.