Israeli General Offers to Quit over Hamas Raid Disaster

Published August 30th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

An Israeli army general handed in his resignation Thursday, saying he was to blame for a botched raid against Hamas militants which resulted in the death of three soldiers earlier this week.  

According to Haaretz newspaper the soldiers were apparently killed when Israeli special units snipers opened fire against fellow troops staked out on the roof of a house in the village, Assira al-Shamaliya, believing them to be Hamas fugitives. 

The news of the resignation came only a few hours before army chief of staff Shaul Mofaz was due to hold a press conference to disclose the results of an army investigation into the fiasco in the northern West Bank village last Saturday. 

The army said Brigadier-General Shlomo Oren, commander of the West Bank division, who has overall responsibility for the elite undercover Duvdevan unit involved in the raid, had asked to resign. 

"Oren told the chief of staff that he considers himself responsible for what happened during the army's activity on Saturday night," it said in a statement. 

Israeli radio said it was not clear if the resignation had been accepted. 

Three members of the Duvdevan unit were killed and another wounded in the nighttime operation to capture a Hamas military leader, Mahmud Abu Hannud, who was wanted by Israel for a series of bombings. 

Abu Hannud, escaped the Israeli siege on the village of Assira al-Shamaliya with bullet wounds but was arrested by Palestinian police after he sought treatment at a hospital in the nearby town of Nablus. He is set to be tried by a Palestinian state security court. 

Israeli press reports have said that the commander of Duvdevan, known only as Lieutenant Colonel "Micky," was also expected to be forced to resign over the failed operation -- JERUSALEM(AFP)  



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