Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Top Terrorist Dead; Jihad Threatens Revenge

By Hillel Fendel

The number-one most wanted terrorist in Judea and Samaria was killed Sunday night in a clash with IDF forces in Tul Karem, east of Netanya. Islamic Jihad promises sharp revenge.
Three terrorists were killed in the battle, including Luis Saadi, who was responsible for killing 12 Israelis and wounding 150 others. Specifically, he directed the murderous attacks at the Stage Club in Tel Aviv in February of this year and outside the HaSharon Mall in Netanya three months ago.

A terrorist cell under the command of Saadi was preparing to carry out another attack during the next few days, IDF Ephraim Region Commander Col. Aharon Haliwa said Monday. "The killing of Saadi prevented a sad holiday week for Israel," Haliwa said.

Saadi was also responsible for smuggling terrorists to Jerusalem, as well as other attacks. He was originally arrested in 1999, but was freed from prison in January, 2004 when Israel exchanged 400 terrorists for the release of Elchanan Tenenbaum and three soldiers' bodies.

The battle began when an IDF force encountered a car carrying armed Arabs and ordered the driver to stop. The terrorists fled to a nearby building, shooting at the soldiers along the way. As exchanges of fire raged, an IDF engineering unit arrived and destroyed the building atop the terrorists.

An explosives vest, Kalachnikov rifle and a pistol were later found on Saadi's body. IDF Col. Haliwa said that they did not know with certainty that Saadi was in the car at first, "though we knew that top Islamic Jihad leaders were meeting in the area, and we took action."

The IDF imposed a closure on Tul Karem in the hours following the battle, but later left the area. Some 30 terrorists were arrested throughout Judea and Samaria during the night.

The Islamic Jihad terror organization appeared particularly angered by Saadi's killing, and its threats of revenge caused the IDF to increase its level of alert in the Gaza region. Additional forces have not been deployed, but it is feared that Sderot and environs will be targeted with mortar shells and Kassam rockets. Some Jihad spokesmen even promised a "series of attacks."

Col. Haliwa said that the IDF has been operating against the terrorist infrastructures in Tul Karem for several months: "This is the most complex terror group in all of Shomron, with more Israeli blood on its hands than any other."

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