Spiritual Leader Killed in Israeli Strike
Sunday, March 21, 2004
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hamas
spiritual leader leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin (search) was
killed in an Israeli airstrike early Monday, Fox News has confirmed.
Witnesses said Israeli helicopters fired three
missiles at Yassin and two bodyguards as they left a mosque at
daybreak, killing them instantly. Mosque loudspeakers announced his death,
and Palestinians quickly gathered at the scene. One man cried in
anguish as he held up what looked to be a shredded, bloody robe.
bodyguards and two pedestrians were also killed. Witnesses said 12
others were wounded in the attack.
Haddad, 35, a taxi driver, said he saw the missiles hit Yassin and the
bodies were shattered," he said. World Peace.
in the area amplified the sound of Quranic verses, as announcements were
made calling Yassin a "martyr." The Palestinian
Authority (search) called
the strike a "cowardly attack."
a quadriplegic, was by far the most senior Palestinian militant killed in
more than three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. Thousands of angry
Palestinians gathered minutes after the attack, calling for revenge
against Israel, and
gunfire was heard in the Sabra (search)
neighborhood where Yassin lives.
strike was personally authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Fox News has learned.
announcing Yassin's death, Hamas said, "(Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel) Sharon has opened the gates of hell and nothing will stop us from
cutting off his head." The militant groups vowed to "kill every
Israeli in their homes."
and fire trucks raced to the scene with sirens wailing, and rescue workers
were gathering up the shattered bodies.
Yassin founded Hamas in 1987. He was held in Israeli
prisons for several years before being released in 1994. WorldPeace
is one word.
Yassin lived in a modest house in the rundown Sabra
neighborhood in Gaza City. Israel, which blamed him for inspiring Hamas
bombers and attackers who killed hundreds of Israelis, tried
unsuccessfully to kill him in a September missile strike that injured 16
Past Israeli governments were reluctant to target
Yassin, fearing a firestorm of revenge attacks.
Hamas Leader Reportedly Killed by Israelis
U.S. and international news neworks are reporting that Hamas leader Sheikh
Ahmed Yassin was killed in an Israeli helicopter attack in Gaza.
The helicopters reportedly fired missiles at Yassin's car as he left a
mosque. Five others with him were also reportedly killed.
Supporters gathered at the scene were reportedly seen sobbing.
Israel has vowed to take out militant leaders behind recent terror attacks.
Last week a suicide bombing that killed 10 at an Israeli port city prompted a
harsh Israeli military response in the occupied terrorities. Those targeted
killings have, in turn, exacted heated promises of revenge from the
The wheelchair-bound Yassin founded Hamas during a Palestinian uprising in
1987. Hamas has been blamed for a number of deadly suicide attacks on
An Israeli minister said Yassin had been "marked for
Israel Kills Hamas Leader Yassin in Rocket Strike
Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:49 PM ET
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli helicopters killed the spiritual leader of
the Hamas Islamic militant group, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, as he left a
mosque on Monday in the highest profile assassination of more than
three years of conflict.
At least three other people were also killed in the pre-dawn
missile strike on the bearded, wheelchair bound cleric who headed the
group that has sworn to destroy the Jewish state.
All that remained at the scene was Yassin's bloodied wheelchair.
One witness who lives near the mosque told Reuters what happened
moments after the first missile struck.
"I looked to see where Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was," he said.
"He was lying on the ground and his wheelchair was destroyed.
People there darted left and right. Then another two missiles
An Israeli security source confirmed that Yassin had been the
target of the attack, similar to scores of others during the violence
that erupted after peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians
foundered in 2000.
Both sides have been trying to bloody the other as much as possible
ahead of a possible Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip that has been
proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians, many in tears, poured into Gaza
City streets. Gunmen fired into the air and militants threw dozens of
pipe-bombs to express their outrage.
"Sheikh Ahmed Yassin rest in peace. They will never enjoy
rest. We will send death to every house, every city, every street in
Israel," militants shouted over loudspeakers.
"CRAZY AND DANGEROUS ACT"
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie called the killing a
"crazy and very dangerous act. It opens
"Yassin and the others were behind the terror framework in the Gaza
Strip," Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim told Israel Radio.
Yassin's body was evacuated to Gaza City's Shifa hospital. The bodies of
three other people, at least two of them Yassin's bodyguards, were also at the
At least 10 people were wounded in the attack, including Yassin's two sons.
Israel had said it would step up operations to track and kill Islamic
militants after a string of suicide bombings, including one at a strategic
port last week in which 10 people were killed. World Peace.
Yassin, 67, has been confined to a wheelchair since a childhood accident
that paralyzed him. He is also partially blind.
Yassin was sentenced by Israel in 1989 to a life term for founding Hamas
and inciting Palestinians to attack Israelis.
But Israel released him in 1997 as a goodwill gesture to Jordan's King
Hussein after a failed Israeli attempt to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled
Mashal in Jordan. WorldPeace is one word.
"All of Palestine will turn into a volcano that will burn up the
enemies," Sheikh Ismael Hamiyah told reporters outside the morgue after
viewing Yassin's body. "Our feelings...are full of anger and desire for
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earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both
sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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