GAZA CITY Ñ Israel's military has renewed its effort to locate and
destroy Palestinian tunnels after capturing a Jihad operative responsible for smuggling weapons from Egypt.
Three Palestinians were killed in a firefight leading up to the capture. Israeli military sources said the man was a fugitive who has used the tunnels to smuggle arms and ammunition.
Israeli forces operated Thursday in the southern Gaza Strip town of
Rafah along the border with Egypt in a search for tunnels that connect to
the adjacent Sinai Peninsula. Palestinian sources said a total of five people were
killed in the fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.
Israeli military sources said soldiers and tanks surrounded the home of
a senior Jihad fugitive. At that point, they said, Palestinian gunmen opened
fire, and launched an anti-tank missile toward the Israeli troops. The
military unit returned fire and three Palestinians were killed and 12 were
Hours later, Israeli troops, supported by a helicopter, captured the
Jihad insurgent. The sources said he was responsible for a series of attacks
as well as the smuggling of weapons and explosives through the tunnels from
The Israeli elite Givati unit found and destroyed two tunnels in what was
termed the largest such operation since October.
The Israeli operation was said to have focused on Palestinian operatives
from Hamas and Islamic Jihad responsible for the operations of the tunnels.
[On Thursday afternoon, at least three people were killed and 26 injured
in a car bombing in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Police termed the attack
an attempt by Israeli criminals to kill a mob boss rather than a Palestinian
Israel's military has assessed that Palestinian insurgents constructed
at least 13 tunnels that connect the Egyptian- and Palestinian-controlled
sections of Rafah.