Israel Exerts Right to Hunt Down Murderers, Sharon Says

(IFM) In his first public statement since the Israel Defense Forces operation against Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that, "Israel has done away with the top leader of Palestinian terrorist murderers," MA’ARIV reported. Speaking at a meeting of the Likud Knesset faction, Sharon said: "Yassin’s ideological essence was a single-minded determination to murder Jews wherever they may be and destroy the state of Israel. This mass murderer stood in the top rank of the people of Israel’s arch-enemies."

"The war against terror is not over and it will continue every day, everywhere," Sharon said. "This is a tough war in which all the nations of the free world understand they must take part. It is the right of the Jewish people, like any other, to hunt down those who aspire to eradicate it."

Earlier, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz said: "The so-called ‘Sheikh’ Yassin was the leader of terror. He was the Palestinian Bin Laden and his hands were soaked in the blood of hundreds of Israelis". Mofaz added that, "Yassin sent his murderers to some of the biggest terror attacks. His assassination is part of the Israeli government’s policy in the war against Hamas, and that war will continue".

Biography: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

(IFM) Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who was born in 1936 in Gaza City, founded the Hamas terrorist organization in 1988 and served its spiritual leader henceforth, MA’ARIV reported. Yassin spent most of his life paralyzed, from the neck down, as the result of a sports injury when he was 12. In the 1970s, after becoming a Moslem cleric, Yassin founded a branch of the Islamic Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, which was mostly involved in welfare activities and was approved by Israel, as a legal organization. In 1984, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for purchasing weapons for use against Israel and for setting up a terrorist organization. He was released after only one year, in a prisoner exchange with the Palestinian Popular Front. When the Intifada began in 1987, Yassin’s organization was reincarnated as Hamas. In October 1991, an Israeli court convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the establishment of Hamas and for his responsibility in terrorist activities, including the kidnap-murder of two soldiers. He was released as a gesture to Jordan and in order to obtain the repatriation of Israeli security personnel.

After his release, Yassin continued to organize and support terrorist activities and in 1998, he raised several million dollars from across the Arab world for use by Hamas. During the early stages of the current wave of Palestinian violence, Yassin was behind a series of attacks on Israel. He rejected every attempt for negotiation with Israel and was ultimately considered “sentenced to death”. In September 2003, he narrowly escaped a failed attempt by Israel to kill him.