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IDF attempted ’08 operation to capture Hamas commander to swap for Shalit

JTA

July 25, 2013 | 9:14 am

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in this file still image from video released on Oct. 2, 2009 by Israeli television. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/Files

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in this file still image from video released on Oct. 2, 2009 by Israeli television. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/Files

Israel attempted to capture the former head of Hamas’ military wing in 2008 in order to exchange him for then-captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, according to newly released documents.

The operation involved special forces and the top brass of Israel’s defense establishment. Soldiers were dispatched to Gaza to nab Ahmed Jabari, formerly the head of Hamas’ military wing, as he was driving to visit one of his two wives, the Times of Israel reported. The Israel Defense Forces then planned to offer Jabari in exchange for Shalit, whom Hamas had captured two years earlier.

But the operation was aborted when Jabari’s car made an unexpected turn.

After indirect negotiations with Hamas, Shalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in 2011. In November 2012, Israel assassinated Jabari at the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, an eight-day conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

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