‘Ticking bomb’ terrorist killed in Gaza air strike

Shin Bet confirms targeted assassination of Army of Islam member tied to al-Qaida; was planning to attack US, Israeli targets in Sinai.

Gaza explosion in car with crowd (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Gaza explosion in car with crowd
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Israel resumed its targeted assassinations in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with the killing of a senior al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist by a car bomb in Gaza City.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confirmed Wednesday night that together with the Israel Air Force, it had carried out an operation to kill 27-year-old Mohammed Namnam, a top operative with the Army of Islam, a radical Palestinian terror group affiliated with al-Qaida and involved in the 2006 abduction of Gilad Schalit.
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“Earlier today, the Israeli army targeted a ticking bomb,” IDF spokeswoman, Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovitz, told reporters in a conference call.
According to the Shin Bet, Namnam, from the Shati refugee camp, was responsible for a number of attacks against Israel in recent years.
The security agency added that it had obtained intelligence indicating that Namnam was in the midst of planning attacks against American and Israeli targets in the Sinai Peninsula.
Hamas confirmed that the man killed was Namnam.
Hamas said he was a senior aide to Mumtaz Dughmush, commander of the Army of Islam. Dughmush is a former Hamas activist and heads the violent Dughmush clan in Gaza City.
The explosion occurred outside the headquarters of the Hamas security forces in Gaza City, eyewitnesses said. Four other Palestinians were wounded in the blast, they added.
Sources in Gaza revealed that Namnam was recently arrested by Hamas and interrogated about his role in firing rockets at Israel. The sources said that Namnam was accused of violating understandings between Hamas and other Palestinian groups to halt the rocket attacks.
The Army of Islam is one of numerous armed groups that have been operating in the Gaza Strip over the past few years. Its members have often clashed with Hamas.
The group was responsible for the kidnapping of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston four years ago. Its members have also been behind a series of terror attacks against Western institutions, Christians and other Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
In September 2008, a violent confrontation erupted between Hamas and the Dughmush clan in the Sabra suburb of Gaza City.
The clashes began when Hamas militiamen tried to arrest two members of the clan. At least 12 clan members were killed in the confrontation.
One of those killed was Ibrahim Dughmush, the brother of Mumtaz.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.