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 Hamas.

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 assassination.

Hamas' virulent new leader, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, has called American President George W. Bush "an enemy of God and an enemy of Islam and Muslims."



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