IDF kills Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin

Walid Obeidi, wanted by Israel for years, dies during pre-dawn gunfight in Shin Bet-IDF operation.

Jihad 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Jihad 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
After years of searching, the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) tracked down and killed the Islamic Jihad's top military commander in the West Bank in a joint operation outside of Jenin early Wednesday morning. Sources in Central Command said that Walid Obeidi had been near the top of Israel's most-wanted list for the past several years and was responsible for many suicide attacks and car bombings inside Israel. Obeidi was recently appointed to the post of Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank after the IDF killed his predecessors, Louie Sa'adie from Tulkarm and Hussan Jaradet from Jenin. He enlisted in the Islamic Jihad in the 1980s and was held personally responsible by Israel for a suicide attack in a southern Tel Aviv falafel stand in 2006 in which 11 people were killed. Obeidi was also an expert bombmaker and was involved in financing the terror group's activities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. According to the army, he was also involved in planning a suicide attack in March 2006 that was thwarted when police caught the bomber as he was driving on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway. Obeidi was killed in clashes with soldiers from the elite undercover Duvdevan Unit, who raided a home where he was hiding in the village of Kabatiya, near Jenin. IDF sources said that heavy exchanges of fire erupted between the soldiers and Islamic Jihad gunmen. Obeidi was killed and two of his bodyguards were wounded and arrested. The IDF and Shin Bet have invested much of their West Bank resources in trying to break the Islamic Jihad terror infrastructure in northern Samaria over the past year. In 2007, IDF units uncovered dozens of terror laboratories and arrested hundreds of terror suspects in Nablus and Jenin. The IDF has also severely weakened the Islamic Jihad infrastructure, killing nine of its senior operatives and arresting another 11 in 2007.