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Go away Ahmed Yassin
1) « " Go away/vanish/depart Ahmed Yassin ! " »
2) « The sheikh »
3) « He was hit/killed » skip : + 1
6) “In that day shall there be a great mourning”
Israel kills Hamas leader
JERUSALEM - (KRT) - Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the militant Hamas movement, was killed along with his bodyguards early Monday in a strike by Israeli helicopters in Gaza City.
The Palestinian sheik was being pushed in his wheelchair from dawn prayers at a mosque in the Sabra neighborhood when three missiles struck, killing him and three bodyguards and wounding 13 other people, including one of his sons, witnesses said.
Stunned worshipers emerged from the mosque to survey the scene. One man wept as he held up a wheel of Yassin's smashed wheelchair. Another held up a piece of the sheik's bloodstained robe. Bits of flesh and blood covered the area.
Yassin, 69, a paraplegic, was the most senior Palestinian leader to be killed by the Israelis in more than three years of conflict.
A short time after the attack, announcements of the sheik's death and Koran verses were broadcast over mosque loudspeakers in Gaza City, accompanied by bursts of gunfire in the streets.
"We swear by the name of God that we will take revenge," shouted one mosque announcer, weeping. "Killing for killing, destruction for destruction. God is great." Local radio stations broadcast Koran verses and nationalist songs.
As news of Yassin's death spread through Gaza City, street protests erupted and thousands of Palestinians streamed toward his home.
The Israeli army confirmed that it had killed Yassin, saying he was "responsible for numerous murderous terror attacks resulting in the deaths of many civilians."
The army sealed of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Gaza was divided in three sections by Israeli blockades.
Yassin was a main target of an Israeli campaign against Hamas launched after a double suicide bombing last week at the Israeli port of Ashdod that killed 10 Israelis.
The Israeli government ordered strikes against Hamas leaders and raids against Hamas strongholds that have killed more than a dozen Palestinians since last Monday.
Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, a top Hamas leader who was himself the target of a failed Israeli assassination attempt last year, called the killing "the assassination of the dignity of the nation."
"The Israelis will pay the price for this, and the lions of Izzedin al-Qassam will retaliate appropriately," he added, referring to the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, which has killed scores of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks.
Palestinian Authority officials also denounced the attack.
"This is a crazy and very dangerous act. It opens the door wide to chaos. Yassin is known for his moderation and he was controlling Hamas and therefore this is a dangerous, cowardly act,'' said Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.
Muhammad al-Waheidi contributed from Gaza.
© 2004, Chicago Tribune.
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