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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 04, 2003

Arrest of Hamas leader signals change in IDF tactics

IsraelInsider sees a shift in dealing with Intifada
Israel's arrest of Hamas founder Mohammed Taha during the army's raid into the El-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza on Monday signaled that the political leadership of the organization was now being held directly responsible for the terror attacks it instigated. The United States criticized the raid, saying it was "deeply concerned" that a pregnant woman and a young child were among the casualties.

Taha, 65, is reported to be the most senior Hamas leader arrested by Israel since the start of the Intifada. The arrest came as part of intensive Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip over the past two weeks. The actions, targeting Hamas terror infrastructure, are intended to halt the firing of mortars and rockets at Israeli targets.

Hours after the army withdrew from the Gaza Strip yesterday morning, at least two Kassam rockets landed in the western Negev town of Sderot. Six residents were treated for shock, but no damage was reported.

On Sunday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz declared that he wanted "the terror organizations to spend more time (and effort) defending themselves... In the Gaza Strip, we are going to intensify the pressure on Hamas... and we are going to do the same thing in the West Bank," he said. [more]