US embassy cable - 99TELAVIV15987

ISRAELI RAID KILLS HAMAS ACTIVISTS

Identifier: 99TELAVIV15987
Wikileaks: View 99TELAVIV15987 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tel Aviv
Created: 1999-12-16 10:52:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PTER PGOV KPAL IS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 161052Z DEC 99
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4891
INFO ARAB-ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY NICOSIA PRIORITY 
C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 015987 
 
DEPT FOR NEA, NEA/IAI, SMEC AND S/CT 
LONDON FOR SUTPHIN; PARIS FOR LIEF 
NSC FOR RIEDEL/MALLEY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/09 
TAGS: PTER, PGOV, KPAL, IS 
SUBJECT: ISRAELI RAID KILLS HAMAS ACTIVISTS 
 
CLASSIFIED BY POL/C JOHN SCOTT.  REASON 1.5(B) AND (D). 
 
 
1. (C) THE GOI'S BUREAU FOR COUNTERTERRORISM CONFIRMED 
ON DECEMBER 14 THAT AN IDF SPECIAL FORCES UNIT KILLED 
EIAD BATAT AND NADER MASALMAH IN A FIREFIGHT THE EVENING 
OF DECEMBER 13.  THE CLASH OCCURRED IN THE VILLAGE OF 
BEIT AWWA, IN AREA B, APPROXIMATELY 10 KMS WEST OF 
HEBRON, NEAR THE GREEN LINE.  ACCORDING TO MEDIA 
REPORTS, BATAT AND MASALMAH OPENED FIRE ON THE IDF UNIT 
AS IT APPROACHED THE HOUSE THEY WERE IN.  THE SPECIAL 
FORCES UNIT RETURNED FIRE, KILLING BATAT AS HE TRIED TO 
ENTER A VEHICLE TO FLEE AND MASALMAH, AS HE FIRED ON THE 
ISRAELIS FROM THE ROOF OF THE HOUSE.  THE EIGHT OTHERS 
IN THE HOUSE AT THE TIME -- INCLUDING A WOMAN AND 
CHILDREN -- WERE UNHARMED.  BATAT REPORTEDLY WAS 
CARRYING A HANDGUN AND EXPLOSIVES.  GOI SOURCES TOLD THE 
MEDIA THAT BASED ON "EVIDENCE" AT THE SCENE AND 
"INTELLIGENCE" INFORMATION, IT APPEARED THAT BATAT AND 
MASALMAH WERE PREPARING TO CARRY OUT A TERRORIST ATTACK. 
THREE INDIVIDUALS WERE ARRESTED IN THE RAID, INCLUDING 
RELATIVES OF MASALMAH. 
 
2.  (C) ACCORDING TO LTCOL UDI LEVI OF THE 
COUNTERTERRORISM BUREAU, THE IDF UNIT HAD SPECIFIC 
INFORMATION ABOUT BATAT'S AND MASALMAH'S WHEREABOUTS. 
LEVI DESCRIBED BATAT AS A "SENIOR" FIGURE IN THE HAMAS 
MILITARY WING WHO HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN A FIREFIGHT IN 
THE OTNIEL SETTLEMENT SW OF HEBRON LAST JANUARY, IN 
WHICH ONE BORDER POLICE OFFICER WAS KILLED AND ONE IDF 
SOLDIER WOUNDED.  LEVI SAID BATAT HAD BEEN OPERATING IN 
THE SOUTHERN WEST BANK FOR SOME TIME.  HE DESCRIBED THE 
DECEMBER 13 RAID AS THE GOI'S MOST SUCCESSFUL AGAINST 
HAMAS SINCE THE SEPTEMBER 1998 ATTACK -- ALSO NEAR 
HEBRON -- WHICH KILLED THE ABWADALLAH BROTHERS. 
 
3.  (U) IN RESPONSE TO THE RAID, HAMAS LEADERS PUBLICLY 
VOWED TO CONTINUE ATTACKING ISRAELIS AND WARNED THAT 
ISRAEL BORE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF 
THE ATTACK.  PA LEGISLATOR HANAN ASHRAWI CONDEMNED THE 
RAID, TELLING THE MEDIA THAT BATAT AND MASALMAH HAD BEEN 
KILLED IN COLD BLOOD, AS PART OF THE GOI'S POLICY OF 
"DELIBERATELY TARGETING, THEN ASSASSINATING" WANTED 
INDIVIDUALS THEY COULD NOT OTHERWISE BRING TO JUSTICE. 
 
4.  (C) COMMENT:  LEVI WOULD NOT CONFIRM (BUT DID NOT 
DENY) THAT THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WAS INVOLVED IN 
PROVIDING SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT BATAT'S AND 
MASALMAH'S WHEREABOUTS, SINCE BEIT AWWA LIES IN THE AREA 
UNDER JOINT GOI-PA CONTROL.  ALTHOUGH BATAT HAS LONG 
BEEN SOUGHT BY THE GOI, MASALMAH IS A NEWCOMER WHOSE 
NAME HAS  NOT APPEARED PREVIOUSLY ON ANY GOI LIST OF 
KNOWN TERRORISTS.  HE SIMPLY MAY HAVE BEEN IN THE WRONG 
PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME. 
 
 
WALKER 

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