A seven-year hunt came to an end on Monday when an elite Border Police unit nabbed a senior commander of Fatah's Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah who is held responsible by Israel for the deaths of numerous Israelis.
Security officials said that Khaled Shawish, head of the Tanzim terror group in Ramallah, was behind the shooting attack that killed Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane, son of Rabbi Meir Kahane, and his wife Talia in December 2002.
Shawish is also held responsible for dozens of additional attacks, including suicide bombings in Jerusalem as well as other shooting attacks on roads in the area that left a total of eight Israelis dead and dozens wounded. In March 2002, Shawish dispatched a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives on King George Street in Jerusalem, killing three people and wounding 35. In February 2002 he dispatched a suicide bomber who wounded two people.
Officials said that Shawish, 36, had been wanted by the IDF since 2000 and had spent most of his time in hiding near the Mukata, the Palestinian Authority government compound in Ramallah. In 2001, Shawish was severely wounded during clashes with the IDF and even though he survived remained disabled.
Security officials said that Shawish was a dominant force within the Palestinian terror infrastructure and added that his arrest was a success for the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). They said that the Tanzim leader was also an expert bomb maker who taught terror operatives how to manufacture explosives as well as explosive suicide belts and how to lay roadside bombs.
Also Monday, soldiers from the elite undercover Duvdevan unit arrested two Tanzim operatives in Jericho. Palestinians reported that one of the men was seriously wounded when he was shot by troops during the arrest operation. Both suspects fled the scene and hid in a hospital where they were later found and apprehended by the IDF.
In a separate incident, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded after rocks were thrown at the army vehicle he was riding in southeast of Ramallah. Earlier, soldiers conducting sweeps near Jenin discovered homemade weapons, which they confiscated. Overnight Sunday, IDF units arrested eight Palestinian fugitives during operations in the West Bank, including the brother of Aksa Martyrs Brigades leader in Jenin Zakarya Zbeidi.