IDF nabs mastermind of planned attack

Hamas chief in Nablus suspected of planning thwarted suicide bombing intended for this weekend.

By JPOST STAFF
September 20, 2007 10:27
2 minute read.
IDF nabs mastermind of planned attack

idf bulldozer 224 88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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IDF forces arrested overnight Thursday a man which security forces believe was the mastermind of a terror attack planned for Tel Aviv this weekend. The suspect, a senior commander of Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), was captured during an IDF operation in Nablus. Earlier on Thursday, IDF forces thwarted the suicide bombing by capturing members of the terrorist cell who were expected to carry out the attack. In Nablus, troops from the Haruv and Paratrooper reconnaissance battalions entered the Ein Bet Ilmeh refugee camp on Tuesday to hunt down the three-man cell - the bomber, the recruiter and the dispatcher. The explosives belt was not found. The operation, in which 31 fugitives were detained, had been scheduled to end by Friday, security sources said. The Ein Bet Ilmeh raid was one of the most extensive in the area in recent months. Damage was widespread; smoke wafted over the camp, some of it from piles of tires set on fire by Palestinians trying to impede the forces. Meanwhile, the IDF on Thursday released footage of St.-Sgt. Ben-Zion Henman, who was killed during clashes in Nablus on Tuesday, that was filmed shortly before his death. "We have a terrific country, and a terrific army," he says to camera. In a separate operation, three IDF soldiers were lightly wounded during operations in the northern Gaza Strip. Some 20 Palestinians were arrested in the operations. In some cases, residents said, soldiers had crashed through cinder-block walls of houses instead of confronting gunmen on the narrow streets. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called for a halt to the operation, which he said was the most recent example of Israel's "policy of invasion." Residents said they were running out of food and water. The army said it was allowing food, medicine and ambulances into the camp. But with a tight curfew since Tuesday, some of the residents said they couldn't leave their homes to buy food. Lara Kanan, 23, said water was running out in some houses because rooftop water tanks had been hit by bullets. Elsewhere on Thursday, the army was investigating Palestinian claims that an IDF bulldozer ran over the body of a 17-year-old Palestinian who was killed by shrapnel earlier in the day near El-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the PA Health Ministry in Gaza identified the youth as Mahmoud Kassassi. No terrorist group claimed him as a member. No official complaint about the incident had been filed with the Gaza Liaison Administration, the IDF said. The incident allegedly occurred as troops and armored vehicles were operating in northern Gaza in an attempt to locate Kassam rocket launchers and tunnels to be used by terrorists to infiltrate into Israel. Hamas said one of its men had been critically wounded and another moderately wounded during gun battles. The IDF said it had conducted a brief incursion into Gaza and exchanged fire with gunmen, hitting one of them. AP contributed to this report.

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