(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

An IDF soldier – St.-Sgt. Dan Talasnikov, 21, of Nir Galim – was killed and another soldier was lightly wounded last night during an operation to arrest wanted terrorists in an open area east of the village of Saida, north of Tulkarem. The soldier’s family has been notified.

During the arrest operation, the two wanted terrorists opened fire at the IDF force, wounding two IDF soldiers. The force returned fire. One of the soldiers, who was severely wounded, was rushed to hospital to receive medical treatment, and later died of his wounds. The second wounded soldier received medical treatment on location.

One of the wanted terrorists was killed in the fire exchange, and an AK-47 assault rifle was found on his person.

The IDF activity in the area continues.

Background information
(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

An IDF soldier was killed and an IDF soldier was lightly wounded in a joint IDF and ISA activity to arrest wanted Islamic Jihad operatives in the Tulkarm area. Islamic Jihad terrorist Shafiq Abd al-Ghani, one of the chief planners of the suicide bombing at the Stage nightclub in Tel-Aviv, was killed.

During the IDF and ISA activity an IDF force approached the area where two wanted terrorists were located. The terrorists identified the force and opened fire at it. The IDF force returned fire, killing one of the terrorists and wounding the second, Abd al-Fatah Ghadad, who managed to escape, but was captured six hours later at an army roadblock.

The terrorist who was killed, Shafiq Abd al-Ghani, was one of the most senior Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Tulkarm region, and one of the chief planners of the suicide bombing at the Stage nightclub in Tel-Aviv on 25 February 2005, in which five Israeli civilians were killed and 49 Israelis were wounded. He was in direct contact and received orders from the Islamic Jihad headquarters in Syria. Al-Ghani, 38, was a resident of the village of Saida.

After the suicide bombing at the Stage nightclub in Tel-Aviv, al-Ghani was arrested by the Palestinian Authority and jailed. However, he escaped a week and a half ago, while armed and with no particular difficulty, and returned to his village. 

Islamic Jihad terrorists have been operating throughout the "period of quiet" to try to carry out terrorist attacks inside Israel and against Israeli civilians.