Tags: Israeli | Soldier | Militant | Leader | Killed

Israeli Soldier, Militant Leader Killed

Sunday, 10 November 2002 12:00 AM

The soldier was identified as Sgt. 1st Class Madin Grifat, 23. According to the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian witnesses in Gaza, a large explosion went off near the settlement of Netsarim, south of Gaza City. An IDF helicopter flew in and carried the two wounded Israelis away to a hospital, where Grifat subsequently died.

The armed wing of the anti-Israel movement Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it revenge for killing the commander of their group earlier in the day.

Early Saturday, a unit of elite Israeli soldiers converged on the house of Iyad Sawalhe in the West Bank town of Jenin. The 32-year-old Sawalhe, who an Israeli security source described as "the most senior Islamic Jihad activist and the most wanted person" in the northern West Bank, was the leader of Sarays Al Quds, part of Islamic Jihad.

Soldiers surrounded his house in Jenin's kasbah, or old city, and called to him to surrender, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. Sawalhe's wife was arrested, but Sawalhe himself was hiding in a concealed room beside his kitchen, behind a revolving door disguised as a part of a wall.

Instead of surrendering, the militant threw a hand grenade that lightly wounded some of the soldiers. Palestinian witnesses said a gunbattle ensued and Sawalhe was killed by Israeli fire, events confirmed by the IDF.

Israel has called Sawalhe directly responsible for the deaths of 31 Israeli soldiers and civilians and the wounding of some 89 more. Accusations include the car bomb that exploded beside a bus on June 5 and killed 17 people and another car bomb attack beside a bus on Oct. 21 in which 14 people were killed, as well as a jeep carrying about 350 kilograms (800 pounds) of explosives that was destined for a residential home and was discovered in a field on Sept. 5.

He was also involved in "cruel murders" of people suspected of having collaborated with Israel, security sources said.

The army radio station, Galei Tsahal, said Sawalha was "the main target" of the army's sweep in Jenin in the past fortnight.

Palestinian residents said Sawalhe's mother and sister were arrested Friday by the Israeli secret security services when several Israeli army jeeps arrived at the family's home in the West Bank village of Ra'i, near Jenin. His assistant, Said Tubasi, was arrested earlier this week in the village of Tubas.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The soldier was identified as Sgt. 1st Class Madin Grifat, 23. According to the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian witnesses in Gaza, a large explosion went off near the settlement of Netsarim, south of Gaza City. An IDF helicopter flew in and carried the two wounded...
Israeli,Soldier,,Militant,Leader,Killed
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2002-00-10
Sunday, 10 November 2002 12:00 AM
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