Israel kills Jihad commander

Special to World
Sunday, February 29, 2004

GAZA CITY Israel has killed an Islamic Jihad commander. The commander was identified as Mahmoud Uda. Uda was said to have been a senior commander of Jihad and responsible for operations in much of the Gaza Strip.

Uda and two of his cousins were killed in an attack by three missiles fired from an Israeli AH-64A Apache attack helicopter on Saturday. The cousins, Ayman Dahduh and Amin Uda, were also killed. Israeli military sources said Mahmoud, 24, was head of the Iranian-sponsored Jihad in Gaza City. They said Uda was responsible for insurgency cells and directed numerous attacks, including the raid on the Israeli community of Netzarim in October 2003 in which three soldiers were killed.

Uda was also said to have operated Jihad gunners who fired mortar shells against Israeli targets. The sources said Uda had becoming increasingly active in weapons development in cooperation with other insurgency groups.

"Uda, according to security assessments, was carrying weaponry of high quality in his vehicle while he was targeted," an Israeli security source said, without elaborating.

Dahduh, 31, was said to have been involved in bombings of Israeli targets. The sources said Daduh was planning a major unspecified attack by Jihad. Amin Uda was not identified with Jihad.

Another 15 bystanders were injured in the missile strike in Gaza City. Earlier, Jihad had claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing outside the Israeli community of Kfar Darom. Nobody was injured in Friday's attack.

In the West Bank, an Israeli couple was shot dead in a Palestinian ambush near the Israeli community of Eshkolot. The ruling Fatah movement claimed responsibility for Friday's attack.

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