Israel kills Hamas commander

Special to World
Monday, December 6, 2004

RAMALLAH Israel has captured and killed Palestinian insurgency commanders in the West Bank.

Israel's military captured 12 Palestinian fugitives in the West Bank over the weekend, including a Hamas commander. The commander was identified as Rami Abdul Latif Tayah, 26, who led Hamas's military wing in the West Bank city of Tulkarm.

Tayah was accused of being linked to a suicide bombing in an Israeli hotel in Netanya in 2002 in which 30 people were killed. The bombing prompted an Israeli invasion of Palestinian cities in the West Bank.

Israeli military sources said Tayah was also responsible for recruiting Hamas members and forming Hamas suicide and other armed cells. They said Tayah coordinated with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and maintained contact with Hamas in Jenin, Nablus and in the southern West Bank.

"Tayah became the most wanted Hamas terrorist in Tulkarm after many of the Hamas members in his network were arrested during Operation Defensive Shield [in 2002]," a security source said. "Tayah, wanted by Israeli security forces, was helped by the local Palestinian population to hide.

Women collaborators of Hamas dressed him up as a woman so he could move around freely."

Earlier, Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad commander in the northern West Bank. The commander was identified as Mahmud Hamad Kamil, 28, killed on Dec. 3 in Raba near Jenin.

Palestinian security sources said troops arrived in Raba with 20 command cars and began firing at Kamil. He was shot and killed as he tried to escape.

Kamil, 25, was identified as the commander of Jihad in the Jenin region, a post he had shared with another operative. Israeli security sources said Kamil, who recruited suicide bombers, was arrested by the Palestinian Authority and jailed in Jericho, where he continued to direct attacks. In 2004, Kamil escaped and returned to the Jihad group.

"Kamil is responsible for both executing and directing explosive device attacks and shooting attacks against Israeli security forces operating in the Kabatya region," an Israeli security source said. "Kamil recruited a vast number of operatives to the Islamic Jihad infrastructure in the Jenin region."

The security sources said Kamil acted as a leading channel for the transfer and distribution of funds to Jihad. Jihad was said to obtain most of its funding from Iran and Hizbullah.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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