Jerusalem – Immediately after the Feb. 4 Palestinian terror attack in Dimona, Israeli intelligence made a concerted effort, in Hebron, to discover and dislodge those in Hamas who were responsible. The attack killed one woman and injured 11 others.
On Sunday, Israeli intelligence chalked up a success. Israel Defense Forces’ troops killed Shihab Natshe, 25, who built the bombs used in the Dimona attack. Intelligence sources indicate he also planned additional terror attacks against Israel.
In the past few months, the IDF and Israeli intelligence have arrested numerous terrorists who allegedly belong to the Hebron terrorist cell, which security officials say “came back to life.” These arrests helped provide the information about Mr. Natshe.
Israel Special Israel Police forces, along with other IDF forces, entered Hebron in the course of the night and surrounded a house belonging to Wael Bitar, a Hamas terrorist who spent a number of years in prison. Mr. Natshe was believed to be staying in Mr. Bitar’s house.
Israeli troops called on the wanted man to give himself up. He refused to comply and, instead, opened fire and threw a bomb. Israeli troops exchanged fire with him, then called on him again to give himself up.
Then an IDF bulldozer hit the building, and Mr. Natshe still refused to come out. The troops then fired a number of rockets, which produced a series of explosions. Sappers, who subsequently inspected the scene, found that Mr. Natshe had had a number of bombs with him that had caused the series of explosions in the house.
“The powerful explosions severely damaged his body, which made it difficult to identify him,” said one security official. “From the security establishment’s point of view he was a ticking bomb, and that’s why we operated against him.”
Mr. Natshe, who was known among the Palestinians as the “bomb engineer,” recruited two bombers and supplied them with their explosive belts.
Hamas yesterday threatened swift and painful revenge for Mr. Natshe’s death. “We’ll respond with the sword and not with words,” read the Hamas statement.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008