IDF troops killed a top leader of the Islamic Jihad terror organization in a West Bank raid Saturday, the group said.
In announcements from mosque loudspeakers, Islamic Jihad said the group's Nablus leader, Hani Awijan, 29, was killed by undercover IDF troops. The soldiers came to arrest him while he was playing soccer with friends and relatives, the group said. Another Islamic Jihad operative was also killed in the operation.
The army confirmed soldiers operated in Nablus and said a terrorist was killed in an exchange of fire.
Israel Radio said Awijan was responsible for a series of attacks on Israelis. Over the past 17 months, Islamic Jihad has been responsible for all 12 suicide bombing attacks in Israel, which killed 71 people.
News of the raid spread through Nablus, and large crowds gathered at the hospital. Jihad activists burned tires in the streets and called for a general strike in the city. Shops were quickly closed.
While most attention is on the Israel-Lebanon conflict and the month-long IDF offensive in Gaza, security forces carry out nightly arrest raids in the West Bank, searching for suspected terror operatives. Often more than 20 are detained in a single night.