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    Jihad vows to avenge IDF capture of Jenin chief

    By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

    The Islamic Jihad Wednesday vowed to avenge the
    IDF's overnight capture of Sheikh Bassam Saadi,
    who served as the militant movement's chief in the
    northern West Bank city of Jenin.

    The movement's leader in Gaza,
    Abdallah al-Shami, said revenge
    would be exacted for Sa'adi's
    capture. "The enemy will pay a
    dear price for beating Sheikh
    Bassam Saadi and for its daily
    crimes on our people," al-Shami
    said. Wintnesses said Saadi was
    beaten after he was seized.


    Witnesses said Saadi, 42, was a senior leader of
    Islamic Jihad in the West Bank and that he had
    been wanted by Israel for two years. Two of his
    sons had recently been killed in clashes with
    the Israeli military, Palestinian sources
    said.

    Saadi, arrested by a force of the Golani
    infantry brigade's elite Egoz unit, is
    suspected of having dispatched the suicide
    terrorist who killed Mazal Afari in Moshav Kfar
    Yabetz in July.

    Saadi led opposition within the Jihad to the
    temporary truce called by militant
    organizations on June 29 and which later
    collapsed, Israel Radio said.

    In the Jenin raid, soldiers backed by
    helicopters and tanks raided a section of the
    refugee camp before dawn and told residents to
    evacuate the area as they carried out
    house-to-house searches for suspected
    militants, the witnesses said.

    They said Saadi was found by tracker dogs
    beneath a car parked outside a mosque. Three
    other Palestinians were also arrested in Jenin,
    the witnesses said. Islamic Jihad sources in
    Gaza said Sa'adi was beaten after he was
    apprehended.

    Islamic Jihad has carried out dozens of attacks,
    including suicide bombings, that have killed
    hundreds of Israelis during the three-year-old
    Palestinian uprising.

    Al-Shami said Sa'adi had eluded Israeli arrest
    for two years, and that his capture "will not
    weaken the resistance, on the contrary, it will
    fuel it more and more as the uprising goes into
    its fourth year."

    In other Israeli military raids, troops seized
    14 suspected
    militants near the West Bank cities of Nablus,
    Ramallah and
    Hebron, the army said.

    Witnesses said soldiers blew up 12 homes and a
    tunnel used to smuggle weapons from Egypt into
    the Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical officials
    said three people were wounded in the action.

    A Golani arrest campaign in the camp, which
    began more than two weeks ago, has netted more
    than 20 wanted fugitives and headed off a car
    bombing planned for the northern Israel town of
    Bet Shean, security sources say.

    The head of the Jihad organization in the Jenin
    refugee camp, Fares Wahadeh, was arrested on
    Friday.

    Following an intense Israeli campaign of arrests
    and assassination attempts directed against
    Islamic militant commanders, most Islamic Jihad
    and Hamas officials have gone underground,
    careful to refrain from disclosing their
    whereabouts to the press for fear of discovery
    by Israeli forces.

    Saadi was one of the few Islamic militant
    leaders who maintained contact with the media,
    often serving as a spokesman for the movement.

 
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