Israelis arrest top Hamas official
NABLUS, West Bank (CNN) -- Israel Defense Forces arrested a top official in the military wing of Hamas on Thursday, the IDF and Palestinian security forces said.
The man, Hossam Atef Ali Badran, "was responsible for all the most difficult attacks carried out against Israel by the Hamas during the past few years," resulting in "more than 100 Israelis killed," the IDF said in a written statement.
Among the attacks, it said, were "Sbarro [pizzeria in Jerusalem], Haifa bus and restaurant bombing, the Park Hotel in Netanya and the attack on the bus outside Emanuel in the West Bank."
Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, has been labeled by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. The group's military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, has claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians as well as attacks against the Israeli military.
Palestinian security officials said Badran was taken into custody in the middle of an air and ground chase that started outside Massariyeh, east of Nablus. They said Israeli helicopters firing machine guns chased a group of Palestinians, killing three and injuring two. Badran was uninjured, they said.
In its statement, the IDF said it "wounded a number of suspicious Palestinians" in the chase. It said Israeli Shin Bet security forces also were involved in the chase.
Israeli forces initially bombed a house, mistakenly believing the Palestinians were inside, the Palestinians said. There was no word on whether there were any casualties in the house.
The IDF said Badran, 35, ran a newspaper in Nablus, West Bank, and had been arrested a number of times in Israel in the past. It called his arrest "a serious blow to the infrastructure" of Hamas, and said his capture prevented a number of operations that were about to occur.
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