Hamas Hints at Revenge for Deaths
BEIT AWA, Dec 14, (AP) — In an angry response to the Israeli killing of two Islamic militants, Hamas leaders said today they would keep attacking Israelis.
“Israel carries the full responsibility for this killing, and we say that we have the total right to defend ourselves and to react to this criminal act,” Ismail Abu Shanab said.
A new wave of Hamas attacks would disrupt Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking at a critical time. Negotiators have two months to formulate a framework for a final peace treaty, and Israel has said it would halt talks in response to terror attacks.
Hamas has carried out a string of suicide bombings and shootings in Israel in recent years in hopes of scuttling peace talks. In 1996, the group responded with several bloody bombings after the assassination of its chief bombmaker, whose killing was widely attributed to Israel.
Hamas’ Tuesday comments came in response to the Monday evening shooting of two fugitives during an Israeli army raid of their hideout.
In a rare admission, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh said one of the fugitives, Iyyad Batat, had been marked for death. Sneh said Batat killed an undercover officer in Israel’s border police during a roadside ambush in January.
“I had said that within a year those attackers would die, and see, it took less than a year,” Sneh told Israel radio.
Members of the crack Israeli undercover unit Duvdevan surrounded the house where Batat and four others were staying. Neighbors heard shots and hand-held rocket fire, and troops used flares and a searchlight from a hovering helicopter to light the house. Bata and Hamas activist Nader Massalmeh were killed.
Source: Associated Press
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