JENIN, West Bank (AP) _ Israeli troops on Wednesday fatally shot a West Bank leader of the Islamic Jihad militant group who was involved in an attempted bombing near Tel Aviv, the army said.
Mahmoud Abu Obeid, 24, was traveling in a car in the center of Jenin when undercover Israeli troops shot and killed him, Palestinian witnesses said. An Israeli combat helicopter was seen in the area at the time, they said.
Abu Obeid had fired in the air with an M-16 rifle and then pointed it at troops when they shot at him, said a commander in the Jenin area, Col. Hertzi Halevy.
Abu Obeid was wanted for recruiting a Palestinian from the Jenin area who was caught by Israeli security in Tel Aviv on Tuesday trying to carry out a suicide bombing, the army said. Abu Obeid also had supplied the bomber with the explosives, the army said.
Abu Obeid oversaw the preparation of bombs for the militant group, and the car he was driving was full of explosives, Halevy said. Troops tracked down Abu Obeid due in part with information given to security forces during the interrogation of the bomber caught on Tuesday, Halevy said.
Islamic Jihad had claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attempted attack and vowed retaliation for Abu Obeid's killing. The group said he was a leader of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, and has been wanted by Israel for four years.
``The Zionist enemy's crimes and killing will not effect our resistance program and God willing today's crime will not pass without revenge and revenge will be soon,'' the group said.
The group said it fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. The Israeli army said the rocket failed to reach Israel.