Israeli troops killed a top commander of Islamic Jihad's military wing and one of his close aides after cornering them in the West Bank on Monday, prompting threats of "unprecedented" revenge by the resistance group. One of those killed, Luay Saadi, was the leader of Islamic Jihad's military wing in the West Bank and blamed for the deaths of 12 Israelis in a string of attacks in recent months. Saadi, 30, was reportedly killed in a hail of bullets as he fired on troops while attempting to escape their cordon, an Israeli army commander said.
Also Monday, an international envoy accused Israel of stalling in talks with the Palestinians on opening a key Gaza border crossing with Egypt and other issues left unresolved after Israel's withdrawal from the coastal territory, according to National Post (Canada).
Envoy James Wolfensohn has pushed for a quick deal, saying it's crucial for the economic recovery of impoverished Gaza, ccording to CBC World News.
The West Bank firefight erupted in the Tulkarem refugee camp before dawn.
Israeli commandos surrounded an apartment building after learning that Saadi and his top lieutenant, Majed al Askar, were there, said Col. Aharon Haliva, the top Israeli army commander in the area.
Saadi, meanwhile, tried to flee through a back door, but ran into an Israeli force, Haliva said. Saadi opened fire and was killed by troops, the commander said.
Islamic Jihad threatened revenge attacks. "Our retaliation for this crime will be unprecedented," said a spokesman for the group in Gaza, who only gave his code name, Abu Abdallah.
Saadi's killing "reflects the serious intention of the enemy to end this calm, which we do not regret," the statement said. "We are not going to stand with our hands tied while the blood of our holy warriors is being shed everywhere." A.M.