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Tuesday, April 27, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Senior Hamas military operative dies in shootout with Israeli special forces

RAMALLAH — Israeli special forces killed a senior member of Hamas's Izzedin Kassam military wing in an operation near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. On April 26, Ali Sweti, wanted by Israel since 2002, was killed in a shootout at the home of his relative in Beit Awa.   

The 42-year-old Sweti, survived by two wives and 14 children, was regarded as a leading Hamas military operative, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

"A force surrounded the building in which Sweti was hiding and called on him to surrender," an Israeli military statement said. "Sweiti refused and opened fire at the forces, who then used engineering tools in addition to firing at the building's exterior wall, in order to cause him to surrender. The terrorist continued to fire at the force and was ultimately killed."

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Sweti was part of a Hamas military cell in the southern West Bank that targeted Israeli soldiers and Jews, Middle East Newsline reported. In 2004, Sweti was believed to have planned an attack in which an Israeli border police officer was killed near Hebron.

"Sweti escaped an attempted arrest in February 2007," the military statement said.

The killing of Sweti took place amid a reported Hamas weapons buildup in the West Bank. Palestinian sources said the Palestinian Authority captured a huge Hamas weapons cache near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The cache was said to have contained weapons, ammunition and hundreds of kilograms of explosives. The sources said the cache was found after the arrest of a Hamas military commander by the PA's Preventive Security Apparatus.

Sweti was identified as a member of Hamas's Jahad Mahmad Ismail Sweti squad. Sweti was said to have have been recruited to Hamas in 2002, and immediately began planning attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

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