Monday, August 26, 2002

Israeli Troops Arrest Hamas Leader

Palestinian militants pose an existential, "cancer-like" threat to Israel, and must be defeated at all costs to restore the deterrence Israel lost when it withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000, Israel's new army chief said.

Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon's comments to a rabbinical assembly late Sunday stirred angry criticism by left-wing politicians who said he overstepped his bounds as a military officer.

In the West Bank on Monday, Israeli troops backed by tanks and helicopters raided the Jenin refugee camp and arrested Jamal Abul Haji, 44, a regional leader of the Islamic militant Hamas group, the army said. Under cover of heavy machine gunfire, troops stormed Abul Haji's hide-out in a three-story building, Hamas activists said.

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