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Israeli forces seize Islamic Jihad leader following firefight in Qabatiya

Oct. 6, 2008 9:24 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 6, 2008 9:24 A.M.)
Qabatiya - Ma'an - Israeli forces seized on Monday morning a leader in Islamic Jihad's military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, in the northern West Bank town of Qabatiya, following a firefight with local gunmen.

The Al-Quds Brigades said in a statement, "An undercover Israeli force ambushed Naji Nazzal near his home in the Nazzal neighborhood at 4:15 in the morning. They fired at the man outside his home, but he managed to get inside."

According to the group the Israeli forces then surrounded Nazzal's house with seven military vehicles, which arrived to back up the undercover force. Gunmen affiliated to the military group arrived and fought with Israeli soldiers "who fired shells at the fighters before they broke into the house and completed their mission."

Qabatiya, a stronghold of Islamic Jihad, recently came under the charge of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces. By agreement with the Palestinian leadership, the Israeli military is supposed to stay out of the area.

The statement added that Israeli soldiers occupied the roofs of neighboring buildings including home of another Islamic Jihad leader, Abdul-Fattah Khuzeima.

The soldiers damaged the interior of the house.

Nazzal survived two previous assassination attempts by Israeli forces, the last of which was on 4 February 2008, which left him seriously injured. Two other fighters were killed in that attempt; Ammar Zakarna and Ahmad Abu Zeid.

Nazzal was seized twice during the Second Palestinian Intifada (Uprising), most recently in 2006.

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