Israeli forces kill 2 Hamas fighters in Hebron raid
RAMALLAH: Israeli forces operating in the West Bank city of Hebron killed two Hamas fighters and arrested eight on Friday, sources said.
Palestinian security sources said that Nash'at Al-Karmi from Tulkarm and Ma'moun Al-Natsheh from Hebron, both members of Hamas’ Ezzedin Al-Qassam Brigades were killed during the operation.
The Israeli official said the two belonged to Hamas and were behind the killing of four Israelis on the eve of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks begun last month. Hamas, which controls the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, opposes the talks.
The Israelis were shot in their vehicle on a highway near Hebron.
Television footage showed Israeli forces surrounding a building in the early morning on Friday, with gunfire heard in the area. The footage also showed Israeli soldiers approaching a body lying on the ground. Palestinians said medical workers were unable to reach the scene.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak lauded the army and the Shin Bet chief for the successful operation, saying that the operation constituted “a fast response to the murder of four Israelis near Kiryat Arba. The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and Shin Bet will continue to relentlessly pursue terror organization wherever they are, to ensure the peace and security in West Bank.”
Hamas threatened retaliation over “Israel's cowardice act.” “The Palestinians armed resistance will respond to the (Israeli) crime of occupation in the city of Hebron by all possible and available means,” the Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obaidah said in a statement.
Abu Obaidah added that Al-Karmi and Al-Natsheh “were killed in a gun battle and their killing will be avenged.”
“The occupation crimes will never succeed in breaking the will of resistance or force the resistance to stop its attacks,” the group said, adding “despite the operations, incursions and assassinations, our attacks will increase, and this is what would happen.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the incident saying the “Israeli occupation forces once again tends to violence and murder which we strongly condemn, regardless of pretexts and names.”
Fayyad said that the “path to peace do not pass through the killing of our citizens and torturing them or through the Jewish settlements and their terror.”