Daily Israel Report

Two Hour Battle In Hevron

First Publish: 8/14/2003, 10:41 AM

In what Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz called the defusing of a "ticking time bomb", IDF special forces today (Thursday) killed the head of the Islamic Jihad in Hevron, Mohammed Sieder.

Elite army and Border Guard forces surrounded the Hevron house where Sieder was taking refuge this morning and demanded his capitulation. When he responded by shooting at the soldiers, our forces returned fire and a two-hour battle ensued - involving light weapons, missiles and grenades, with at least one tank seen operating in the vicinity.

The confrontation ended after 7:00am, when gunfire from inside the building ceased. Sieder was killed in the battle; the building was almost completely obliterated by IDF missiles and an explosion that occurred inside. The latter was apparently precipitated by a specially trained dog sent ahead of Israeli forces to sniff out traps. Islamic Jihad issued threats of "harsh" vengeance for the killing.

Sieder was assumed to be behind all of the attacks carried out by Islamic Jihad terrorists from the Hevron region, including the bloody Worshipper’s Way ambush of 2002, which cost the lives of nine soldiers and three civilians. Sieder was sought by Israeli security services since the start of the current "Oslo War" and was the subject of a failed targeted killing in 2001.