Sheikh Ahmed Yassin Assassination
On March 22, 2004, popular Hamas
cleric Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed by missiles
fired from Israeli helicopters as he left a
Palestinian mosque. Hamas co-founder, Abdel Aziz
Rantisi took over Yassin's position as leader of
The assassination of Yassin, the
partially blind quadriplegic cleric who founded Hamas
in 1987, was part of the Israeli government's plan to
try to bring an end to suicide bombings in the
country by targeting Palestinian militants.
1) All Palestinian leaders now
at risk for assassination.
Israel's targeting of a revered
cleric demonstrates that all Palestinian leaders are
at risk of assassination by Israeli forces --
including Yasser Arafat.
In April, Israeli prime minister,
Ariel Sharon, confirmed that Arafat was among those
who might be targeted for assassination.
2) Threat of retaliation.
The threat that Yassin's death
would spur violent protests in Palestine and the rest
of the Arab world was realized at the end of May when
four American contractors were brutally killed by
Iraqis in Fallujah, Iraq in revenge for the
Hamas' virulent new leader, Abdel
Aziz Rantisi, has called American President George W.
Bush "an enemy of God and an enemy of Islam and