Ma'an News Agency
April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli forces besieged the home of a prominent Hamas fighter on Monday morning in Beit Awwa, southern Hebron, and later killed him, witnesses said.

Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers were seen taking Ali Sweiti's body after demolishing the home of his wife's sister, where he was believed to be hiding.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that the home was detonated with Sweiti inside and that clashes ensued with Palestinians and Israeli forces in the village. Witnesses said the home was encircled until 5am and that seven Palestinian civilians were injured when forces deployed riot-dispersal means including tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

The home was then demolished by bulldozers, they said, adding that a journalist trying to cover the incident was assaulted.

Sweiti is survived by two wives and 14 children. The Hamas operative was wanted by Israel for over eight years for affiliation with Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. Israel says he was responsible for carrying out a number of military operations from Hebron.

An Israeli army statement said "a wanted member of the Hamas terrorist organization was killed during a joint IDF-Border Police-ISA arrest operation in the village of Beit Awwa" on Sunday night.

According to the statement, an Israeli force surrounded the building in which Sweiti was hiding and "called on him to surrender."

"[Sweiti] refused and opened fire at the forces," the statement read, who "used engineering tools in addition to firing at the building's exterior wall, in order to cause him to surrender. The terrorist continued to fire at the force, and was ultimately killed."

The Israeli army said Sweiti executed five shooting attacks and detonated an explosive device attack between 1999 - 2004. The shooting six years ago for which the military said Sweiti was responsible killed an Israeli border policeman and injured two others.


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