(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

IDF Officer, Captain Moran Vardi, from Binyamina, was killed last night during an exchange fire with Palestinian terrorists while conducting an arrest in the Ein Beit-Ilma refugee camp in Nablus. Two IDF NCOs were severely and moderately injured and another officer was lightly injured.

The families of the IDF casualties have been notified.

During an arrest activity last night in Nablus, aimed at arresting two senior wanted terrorists, operatives of the PFLP, the two terrorists attempted to escape their hideout. After exiting the structure, they opened fire from short range at the IDF force that came to arrest them. During the exchange of fire that erupted at the scene, an IDF officer was killed, an IDF NCO was seriously injured and another IDF officer was lightly injured.

The force returned fire at the terrorists, killing one of them. The second terrorist escaped into an adjacent building where approximately thirty Palestinian civilians were staying at the time. The terrorist opened fire at the force from inside the building, cynically taking advantage of the civilian population inside and endangering their lives. The terrorists continued to fire from the rooftop of the building, lightly injuring an IDF NCO. The force returned fire at the terrorist and killed him.

During the exchange of fire two innocent Palestinian civilians were killed. The civilians were inside the building from which the second Palestinian opened fire. The IDF expresses sorrow over the cynical use of the civilian population by the Palestinian terrorists for terrorist activity, and expresses sorrow over the death of the two civilians killed.

Background information
(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

Overnight the IDF attempted to arrest two wanted terrorists, both PFLP leaders in the city of Nablus. During the arrest activity the terrorists left their hideout and opened fire at IDF forces. As a result of the exchanges of fire, an IDF officer was killed, two NCOs were injured and another officer was injured. The two terrorists, who have been wanted for several years, were killed by the forces.

The wanted men were:

Yaman Tiv Ali Faraj – Born in 1978 in the village of Madama, Head of the PLFP in the Nablus area.

Amged A-Latif Machmood Melitat – Born in 1973 in the village of Beit Furik, a PFLP operative and the assistant of Faraj.

During the last two years they were involved in numerous attacks and attempts to carry out suicide bombing attacks inside Israel. Last week they dispatched a suicide bomber to carry out an attack inside Israel, an attack which was thwarted by IDF forces. They also worked together with the other local terrorist organizations (i.e. i Tanzim, Democratic Front) by recruiting suicide bombers, and transferring explosive devices to be used for terrorist attacks.

Terror Attacks for which they are held responsible:

– Suicide attack at the Hamara checkpoint in which an IDF soldier was wounded (May 2004).
– Suicide attack at the Geha Junction in which 4 Israeli citizens were killed and 21 wounded (December 2003).
– Attempted suicide attack in the city of Hod Hasharon, near Tel Aviv. IDF forces apprehended the terrorist with a Kalashnikov rifle on his way to Hod Hasharon from Nablus (August 2003).
– Infiltration attack in the Jordan Valley. Two terrorists infiltrated an army base in the Jordan Valley, and opened fire at the soldiers. Two soldiers were killed (April 2003).
– Suicide bombing in Ariel, in which 10 Israeli citizens were wounded (March 2002).