An IDF force of the Nachshon unit operating in the West Bank early Tuesday killed 24-year-old Sabat Iada, the head of Hamas’ military wing in Tul Karm.
One soldier was lightly wounded from shrapnel and was evacuated to the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba for treatment.
Hamas officials said their military wing will respond to the leader's killing, but Palestinian Authority sources estimate the organization will not act on its threat prior to the general elections, set to take place on January 25.
During the operation Monday night, the forces deployed around a building in which Iada, who was on the IDF's most wanted list, was staying. At one point Iada attempted to escape the house, and shot at the troops, who responded with fire.
Iada was shot dead at the scene. Two rifles, an Uzi and a Kalashnikov, were found on his body. A search the force conducted in the house Iada was hiding in revealed an explosives lab and explosive devices. Border Guard sappers summoned to the scene carried out a controlled detonation of the explosives.
18 Suspects nabbed in West Bank
Iada was a student at the An-Najah University in Nablus. His brother had been killed at the beginning of the recent intifada, while attempting to carry out an attack on IDF soldiers at a Tul Karm roadblock.
Three Hamas members have also been detained during the operation in Tul Karm, according to Palestinian sources.
Meanwhile, IDF forces operating in the West Bank early Tuesday nabbed 18 wanted terror suspects; eight suspects were apprehended in the Nablus area, nine were apprehended near Ramallah and another was caught in Hebron.
Ali Waked contributed to this report