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May 23, 2006
Israel Captures Their Top Enemy

The Israelis dealt Hamas a significant blow and perhaps a fatal loss of prestige when they captured the top commander of its terrorist wing this morning. Ibrahim Hamed surrendered without firing a shot when the IDF surprised him in a pre-dawn raid on his apartment building, forcing him to strip to his underwear and capitulate rather than get buring in the destruction of the building:

Ibrahim Hamed emerged from the building before dawn and troops told him over a loudspeaker to strip to his underwear, witnesses said. Hamed complied, was cuffed and taken to a nearby building. Army officials said Hamed was armed and alone at the time of his capture.

The army said Hamed, 41, masterminded attacks that killed 78 Israelis and wounded hundreds.

Hamed has been on Israel's wanted list since 1998, frequently evading capture. Hamed, a university graduate and influential leader, became the West Bank's commander of Izzedine al Qassam, the Hamas military wing, in December 2003.

Hamed apparently awoke to the sound of an IDF bulldozer knocking on his front door, literally. They destroyed the entry to the ground-floor shop below his apartment and told him in Arabic that if he did not surrender, they would bring the building down with him inside. Hamed meekly complied, but only after the Israelis made sure he had no suicide bombs on him by having him strip down to his underwear before venturing outside.

The IDF does that in order to secure themselves against attack, but in this case it carries a little more significance. After all, Hamas has sent teenagers and other zealots to their death by convincing them of the honor of suicide bombing attacks on unarmed civilians. Hamed himself masterminded such attacks on Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an outdoor cafe, and a pool hall, according to the AP. If suicide by terrorist bombing carries such a great honor, Hamed had the chance to go out with high honor indeed, attacking the hated IDF directly. Instead, he demonstrated the curious hypocrisy of terrorist leadership by taking a pass on killing himself and instead submitting ... to a bulldozer.

Hamed's surrender gives the terrorists both tactical and strategic problems. Obviously, any operations in which Hamed had any role will have to be considered blown. Any resources for which he has knowledge will have to be reassigned and moved, and that carries its own increased risk of detection, even if Hamed can keep his mouth shut longer than he can hold out against a bulldozer. But beyond that, Hamas will have difficulty in recruiting more pawns for its attacks. They will have a lot of explaining to do to its constituency, especially those families who have already given sons to the cause because they believed people like Hamed when they spoke of honor.

The Israelis won more than just a tactical or strategic victory today. They won a powerful propaganda victory as well, showing that Hamas not only is vulnerable on every level but also by robbing them of their veneer of bravery. In the end, when faced with guns rather than unarmed civilians, Hamas shows their true level of courage and honor.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 23, 2006 5:05 AM

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» Israelis Capture Hamas Militant Leader from Morning Coffee
Hamed's capture adds a new wrinkle to the Palestinian Family Feud. Any operations he was part of are certainly compromised, as well as the personnel, and assets that were to be used for those operations. Hamas militant leaders now have to... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2006 7:30 AM

» Israel Captures Top Hamas Leader from It Shines For All
"The West Bank commander of the Hamas military wing surrendered to Israeli troops Tuesday after they surrounded his hideout and threatened to demolish it with him inside," the AP reports.Ibrahim Hamed emerged from the building before dawn and troops to... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2006 12:42 PM

» Israel's Most Wanted Man since 1998 Arrested from Assorted Babble by Suzie
Israeli forces captured Ibrahim Hamed early Tuesday in Ramallah. Since 1998, Hamed has been the most wanted and accused of masterminding a seri ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2006 1:31 PM

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Tracked on May 23, 2006 8:31 PM


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