A long-sought Palestinian Authority terrorist was taken into custody by a Special Forces team late Monday afternoon in a joint operation between the IDF, Police Counter-terrorism Unit and General Security Services (Shabak).

Khaled Shawish, a senior commander in the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorist organization, sponsored by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, was cornered in his car by Israeli forces in Ramallah.

The top terrorist has spent the past few years hiding out in Chairman Abbas’ headquarters in the Muqata compound, where former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat lived out his last years trapped by the IDF. A gang of gunmen, including Shawish, was sheltered in Abbas’ headquarters during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.

Binyamin-Ze'ev Kahane, the son of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, and his wife Talia were shot to death and their five daughters seriously wounded in a December 2000 terror attack in which Shawish played a key role.

The Fatah-linked murderer was responsible for the deaths of eighteen other people and the wounding of dozens in numerous attacks, including several in and around Jerusalem.

Among the attacks orchestrated by Shawish were:

- a 2002 suicide bombing on King George Street in Jerusalem

- a 2002 suicide bombing by a female terrorist at a checkpoint just outside Jerusalem

- a shooting attack in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem

IDF soldiers shot the senior commander but didn’t manage to catch him in 2001; they did, however, disable him to the point that PA officials tried to convince Israel to allow him to go abroad for surgical treatment. He never went.

Outspoken National Jewish Front leader Baruch Marzel, himself a close associate of the the terror victim Rabbi Binyamin Kahane, demanded that Shawish be turned over to supporters of Rabbi Meir and Binyamin Kahane. Marzel was quoted by the Kol Rinah news service as saying, “We can’t rely on the justice system and [we] believe the murderer will be freed in a terrorist [exchange] deal. We'll know how to take care of him.”