Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hamas' military commander in Hebron surrenders to troops

IDF troops on Wednesday arrested Imad Kawasmeh, commander of Hamas' military wing in Hebron, and the man responsible for sending two suicide bombers to Beersheba two months ago. The bombers blew up on two buses almost simultaneously and killed 17 Israelis.

Security forces are placing a high value on Kawasmeh's capture.

Acting on intelligence information, Egoz and Nahal units surrounded a Hebron building Kawasmeh was hiding in on Tuesday night, and were told by locals that there was nobody inside. Troops were not convinced and IDF bulldozers began demolishing the building, at which stage Kawasmeh walked out waving a white flag.

The fact that he was taken alive could help Israel against the Hebron infrastructure, security officials said. Israel had difficulty penetrating the Hebron infrastructure, which was considered extremely secretive and lethal.

Kawasmeh has been on the wanted list for several years.

After Kawasmeh's surrender, troops searched the building and found a weapons cache inside.