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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Got a big one in Ramallah

Israel this morning arrested 41-year old Ibrahim Hamed, who has been wanted by Israel since 1998. Hamed is allegedly responsible for killing 78 Israelis and wounding hundreds more in a string of terror attacks, including the bombings of the Moment Cafe in Jerusalem the city's Hebrew University cafeteria (a bombing that killed five Americans) the Ben Yehuda Mall near Zion Square, Cafe Hillel (where my daughter's friend Nava Appelbaum and her father Dr. David Appelbaum were murdered on the night before her wedding), and the IDF base near Tsrifin.

Hamed surrendered to troops after they surrounded his hideout the al-Balua neighborhood of Ramallah and threatened to bulldoze it with him inside. He was the most wanted terrorist in Samaria.

HaAretz describes the arrest:

Local resident Mohammed Azzam, 48, said he watched the arrest from his balcony facing the two-story building where Hamed was holed up. The ground floor of the hideout consisted of shops with large iron doors. Two apartments were on the floor above.

Azzam said that at the start of the operation, an IDF bulldozer rammed the iron shop door. Over the loudspeaker, troops then called out Hamed's name in accent-free Arabic. They told Hamed they would demolish the building with him inside if he didn't surrender, Azzam said.

Hamed emerged, wearing a light-colored shirt and gray pants. Following instructions over the loudspeaker, he took off his shirt and pants, then walked toward the soldiers in his underwear. Palestinian militants surrendering to troops are routinely asked to strip to make sure they are not wearing explosives on their body.

The Jerusalem Post adds:

An IDF colonel who led the capture said Hamas would have trouble replacing Hamed.

"What made him special was his creativity in finding very complex ways to attack Israelis," the colonel, who was only identified by his first name, Amir, told Army Radio.


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