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      Leading Hamas Terrorist Killed; IDF Soldier Falls

      The IDF eliminated a leading Hamas terrorist this morning in Shechem, 25 miles east of Herziliya. Israel's Elite Naval Commando force began the successful operation in the early morning hours when they arrived at a seven-story building in the Refidiya neighborhood, in which wanted terrorists were hiding.
      First Publish: 9/5/2003, 3:21 PM

      The IDF eliminated a leading Hamas terrorist this morning in Shechem, 25 miles east of Herziliya. Israel's Elite Naval Commando force began the successful operation in the early morning hours when they arrived at a seven-story building in the Refidiya neighborhood, in which wanted terrorists were hiding. The soldiers asked the residents to leave, and the terrorists then opened fire and threw grenades at the soldiers. The force returned heavy fire, and a three-hour battle ensued.

      The target of the mission, Muhammad Hanbeli, head of the Hamas terrorist organization in Shechem, was killed in the course of battle. Hanbeli was responsible for terror attacks causing over 20 Israeli deaths and hundreds of wounded. "Even as recently as these very days, he was busy planning another murderous attack," Brig.-Gen. Gadi Eisencott said this morning.

      Also in the exchanges of fire, Sgt. Raanan Komemi, 23, of Moshav Aminadav in the Jerusalem area was killed. Three of his fellow naval commandos were lightly wounded, and another soldier was seriously hurt.

      Komemi's close friend Moshe Asraf said that throughout high school, Komemi dreamed of serving in the Naval Commando Unit. According to Asraf, Komemi was accepted to Israel's most elite unit - Matkal - but expended great energies to be transferred to the Naval Commando Unit. Komemi will be laid to rest today at 15:00 in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.

      The IDF released a statement declaring that its operations against Hamas infrastructures and terrorists in general will continue as a part of its obligation to protect and defend Israeli citizens.