Hamas military commander captured alive

jerusalem | Israeli troops on Wednesday, Oct. 13, arrested Imad Kawasmeh, commander of Hamas’ military wing in Hebron and the man allegedly responsible for sending two suicide bombers to Beersheva 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, military units surrounded a Hebron building where Kawasmeh was hiding and were told by locals that nobody was inside. Troops were not convinced and 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 has had difficulty penetrating the Hebron infrastructure, 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.

According to Israel Radio, Israeli security forces, including the army, Shin Bet and police, refocused their efforts with special emphasis on Hebron several months ago.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz called Imad Kawasmeh “a mass murderer” and welcomed his capture.

“Imad Kawasmeh, the head of the Hamas in Hebron, was captured in a high quality operation by the security forces. Imad Kawasmeh is a mass murderer whose hands are drenched in the blood of many Israelis. He was responsible for the last attack in Beersheva. It was his infrastructure and his orders which sent the bombers,” Mofaz said.

“I am very hopeful that this arrest will lead to a serious blow on the terrorist infrastructure in Hebron and the minimizing of the number of attacks emanating from that area,” Mofaz added.

The Hamas Hebron infrastructure under Kawasmeh’s command has been involved in numerous shooting attacks at Israeli drivers near Beit Hagai in the Hebron hills, the double suicide bomb attack in Beersheva in August, and a number of suicide bomb attacks in Jerusalem.