(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)

Three commanders of the terrorist organizations in Nablus and additional five top wanted terrorists in the Nablus area were killed during an IDF operation in the "old city" in Nablus.

During an IDF operation in the "old city" in Nablus, eight top wanted terrorists in the Nablus area, including Naif Abu Sharah, the commander of the AL-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Faddy Bahti, a commander of the Islamic Jihad and Jaffer Mitsri, of Hamas leadership, were killed.

An IDF force, conducting searches in the "old city", encountered two gunmen inside a house. The force opened fire at the gunmen and killed one of them, a senior terrorist of the Tanzim’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus. The second terrorist escaped into a secret hideout under the floor of the house.

The IDF force, arriving at the hideout, hurled in smoke grenades and hand grenades, resulting in the attempted escape of one of the terrorists through a secret peer in a nearby house. He was caught by the IDF and taken in for investigation.

Following that incident, the force approached the secret peer of the hideout and called for those inside to turn themselves in. After the calls were unanswered, the force hurled hand grenades into the hideout, killing the seven top wanted terrorists who hid inside. 

The "old city" in Nablus is a main center in the West Bank for terrorist activity against Israel. Due to that, IDF forces have been operating in the "old city" during the past six weeks.

During the last three days, a vast search operation was launched to crack down on the heads of the terrorist infrastructures in Nablus, during which an explosive belt, ready to be activated, was uncovered in addition to wanted terrorists being targeted by the forces operating.

19 explosive devices and explosive belts, which emanated from Nablus and were destined to be used for terrorist attacks inside Israel, were uncovered since the beginning of 2004.    

Background Information:

Naif Abu Sharah– 38 years-old, the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus, was involved in numerous  terrorist attacks including the suicide bombing attack in Tel-Aviv, In January 2003, in which 23 civilians were murdered and dozens were injured, and the suicide bombing attack in November 2002, in which two Israeli civilians were murdered and 30 were injured.

Abu Sharah belonged to the General Intelligence in the past. He was responsible for many attempts to dispatch suicide bombers into Israel, some of which were financed by the Hizbullah and some by the Palestinian Authority.

Abu Sharah was a central factor for the Tanzim terrorist infrastructure in Nablus, and provided it with explosives and weapons. He escaped many arrest attempts and was one of the main targets of the current arrest operation in Nablus. He activated terror against Israeli civilians, IDF forces and also local Palestinian residents and merchants who refused to follow his orders.

Abu Sharah murdered those who did not follow his orders under the suspicion of collaborating with Israel. For example, Ahmed Shuka, the brother of the mayor of Nablus, was murdered by one of Abu Sharah’s assistants in November 2003. This murder turned out to be a mistake since the initial intention was to murder the mayor himself.

Faddy Bahti– 25 years-old, a commander of the Islamic Jihad in Nablus, was responsible for dispatching suicide bombers into Israel. He was an explosives expert and responsible for the explosives laboratory in the "old city" of Nablus and for systematically manufacturing explosive devices. Bahti was also a member of a terrorist cell from Tulkarm which carried out an attack against a border police base in Ivtan, north of Tulkarm, in which two border police soldiers were killed and another was injured. He originated in Shweike, north of Tulkarm, and arrived in Nablus after he feared being caught by Israeli security forces.  

Jaffer Mitsri– 29 years-old, a commander of the Hamas in Nablus, was responsible for the explosives laboratory of the Hamas in Nablus and for dispatching terrorists and planning terrorist attacks which were thwarted lately by Israeli security forces.