Israeli troops killed a senior Hamas militant in an overnight arrest raid Monday, Palestinian medical officials and neighbors of the man said. Troops arrived at the home of Amjad Hanawi, 34, Hamas' top military commander in the northern West Bank, shortly after midnight, according to the accounts.
The soldiers ordered Hanawi's family out of the house. While most members came out of the house, Hanawi refused the order and tried to escape. He was shot as he tried to climb a fence. The neighbors claimed that army dogs attacked several family members.
Hamas members drove through the streets of Nablus, announcing Hanawi's death over loudspeakers. A funeral was planned later Monday morning.
The army said it was investigating the reports. But military officials confirmed there had been an arrest raid in Nablus overnight, and that one person opened fire on troops and tried to escape before being shot. The officials did not identify the target of the raid. The officials could not be identified under military regulations.
The killing threatened to raise tensions as dignitaries from around the world gathered in Israel to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish ultranationalist. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived late Sunday, and international Mideast envoy James Wolfensohn has been meeting with top Israeli and Palestinian officials in hopes of wrapping up an agreement on reopening the Gaza Strip's border crossings. I.L.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February