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June 28, 2006
Israel Captures Hamas Ministers As Palestinians Kill Hostage

Israeli forces rounded up dozens of Hamas ministers in the West Bank as the Gaza incursion continued. Palestinian terrorists also announced that they had killed one of their hostages, the teenager kidnapped just as Israel entered Gaza:

Israeli forces arrested the Palestinian deputy prime minister and dozens of other Hamas officials early Thursday and pressed their incursion into Gaza, responding to the abduction of one of its soldiers.

Adding to the tension, a Palestinian militant group said it killed an 18-year-old Jewish settler kidnapped in the
West Bank. Israeli security officials said Eliahu Asheri's body was found buried near Ramallah. They said he was shot in the head, apparently soon after he was abducted on Sunday. ...

Army Radio said the arrested Hamas leaders might be used to trade for the captured soldier. Israel had refused earlier to trade prisoners for the soldier's release.

More than 30 lawmakers were detained, according to Palestinian security officials. Among them were Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer, Labor Minister Mohammed Barghouti and two other ministers in the West Bank.

The arrests of the Hamas officials puts quite a different spin on the hostage negotiations now. Since Hamas has taken responsibility for the kidnappings and refused to intercede to release Gilad Shalit, and since the Palestinians keep committing acts of war against Israel, then their political leadership becomes fair game in war. Now that a few dozen Hamas leaders sit in Israeli jails, the terms of the kidnappers may be changing soon.

However, one hostage will not come home at all. Eliahu Asheri, a teenage civilian captured by Hamas terrorists, was executed by his abductors today. IDF forces found his charred body and identified it later. According to Palestinian sources, they shot him in the head shortly after his kidnapping.

If Shalit does not get released soon, the IDF may come looking for more Palestinian Authority officials.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 28, 2006 10:03 PM

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