Israel destroys Hamas cell in Hebron

Special to World
Tuesday, September 23, 2003

JERUSALEM Israel has assessed that it destroyed the Hamas network in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The Hamas cell was said to have launched most of the suicide operations in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas over the last month. They included the Aug. 19 suicide bombing on an Israeli bus in which 22 people were killed in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces, acting on information from security agencies, have killed the last four commanders of the Hamas network in Hebron. The last commander was killed on Monday when Israeli troops tore down a home in the southern West Bank city.

The commander was identified as Bas Qawasmeh. His body was lying next to his semi-automatic rifle and pistol.

On late Monday, Israeli aircraft broke the sound barrier as they flew over Gaza City. Palestinian radio stations warned residents to stay in shelters in case of an Israeli attack.

In a separate development, Israeli officials report that the Bush administration does not plan to deduct the cost of the security fence from the $9 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. The officials said the administration agreed to delay such a move until Israel formally approves the route of the barrier, which was to have included the Israeli city of Ariel in the West Bank.

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