A special police unit on Thursday killed Abdel Majid Dudin, head of Hamas' military wing in South Mount Hebron, who was responsible for a series of deadly terror attacks in Israel, including bus bombings in Jerusalem and Ramat Gan. He has been wanted by the Israeli defense establishment for 14 years.
A few hours after Dudin was reported dead, Hamas' military wing issued a statement vowing revenge and accusing the Palestinian Authority of cooperating with Israel and subsequently leading to the success of the mission.
"The targeted killing is a new crime against a leader who weakened the Zionist enemy with operations against its soldiers," Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas' military wing, Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said in the statement.
"Naturally we will respond to the assassination and we are considering our retaliation options. We will respond in a fitting fashion and decide on the character of the response inside the West Bank."
The special police force, operating in cooperation with the Judea and Samaria Division's Judea Brigade, arrived to arrest the man near the village of Dura. Dudin was killed in a gunfight which erupted in the area. No casualties were reported among the Israeli forces.
Palestinians reported that the operation lasted many hours. According to the sources, the forces tried to get the man to come out of the house he was hiding in by using bulldozers.
Eyewitnesses told Palestinian security forces that Israel Defense Forces soldiers blew up a well which was said to contain explosives. Several local residents were reportedly arrested by the force operating in the area.
'PA means to destroy resistance'
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Thursday that the killing "was made possible thanks to the growing security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and the Zionist enemy, which means to destroy the resistance and its leaders in order to allow the Zionist-American schemes to reign".
He added that "this crime demands that the PA stop all of its attempts at harming the resistance and allow the Palestinian warriors to protect themselves and their people".
Dudin, 45, was a senior Hamas member who has been jailed and released by the Palestinian Authority in the past. He has been wanted by Israel since the 1990s for his alleged direct involvement in terror attacks. He has also been wanted by the PA.
In the 1990s, the IDF demolished his home due to his involvement in terror attacks. Brigadier-General Noam Tibon, commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, said following the operation that the army "will reach every terrorist who killed Israeli citizens."
IDF forces operating in the West Bank overnight arrested 12 wanted Palestinians: Two were arrested in Jenin, seven were detained in Nablus and three near Jericho. All were turned over to security forces for further interrogation.
Earlier this week, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi said that the Palestinian's security forces' fight against terror was improving, but it was still too early to "give them full security responsibility."
Hanan Greenberg and Ali Waked contributed to this report