Last Update: 01/10/2003 10:45
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
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
Islamic Jihad has carried out dozens of attacks,
including suicide bombings, that have killed
hundreds of Israelis during the three-year-old
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
militants near the West Bank cities of Nablus,
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
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.