PALESTINE : HUMAN RIGHTS
Israel Assassinates Hamas Leaderglobal features 23 Mar 2004 05:00 GMT
assassination of Hamas founder and political leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as he left the mosque following morning prayers. In addition to Yassin, 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 of Sheikh Yassin’s bodyguards, were killed and 17 others injured, including two of Sheikh Yassin's sons. According to The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights "at approximately 05:20 on Monday morning, Israeli helicopter gunships launched 3 missiles at Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, 66, an elderly disabled man, after he had left the Islamic Association Mosque in the densely populated al-Sabra neighborhood in the center of Gaza city, after the dawn payer. Sheikh Yassin was traveling on his wheelchair accompanied by 3 bodyguards, when one of the missiles directly hit Sheikh Yassin and his bodyguards. The other two missiles exploded in the surrounding area and killed 4 other civilians."
Condemnation of Israel's action is coming from all quarters except the Whitehouse. At the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan pointed out "Such actions are not only contrary to international law, but they do not do anything to help the search for a peaceful solution." An EU statement notes: "Israel is not entitled to carry out extra-judicial killings.." Amnesty International released a strong condemnation as well. Reports of possible retribution by Palestinians are already coming in and protests in Ramallah and elsewhere continue to take place. Palestine solidarity groups are calling for emergency demonstrations in New York, London, Rome, Belgium, and beyond.
As expected, prime minister, Ariel Sharon said Israel would continue such attacks in its fight on the "war on terrorism". Sharon's belligerence is viewed by many as the greatest threat to peace in the Mideast.